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D.R.C./Kinshasa:

 

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 14th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

From:

AFJN

It is all because of interests of big business why Africa is held down – and this with the help of corrupt African Governments’ leaders.  If this continues – there is indeed no future for Africa. Foreign aid by old industrialized
Nations is wasted effort.


 

US aid to DR Congo: No more free rides for corrupt government officials!
Did you know your tax dollars are subsidizing corrupt bureaucrats in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)? Instead of subsidizing millions of dollars in theft, fraud and unpaid taxes, the US should…
Read more

Herakles Farms must Stop Unjust Lawsuits Against a Cameroonian Activist
Herakles Farms, a US based agribusiness has filed a lawsuit against Mr. Nasako Besingi, a Cameroonian activist for defamation for peacefully protesting against the company’s grabbing of his ancestral land in South-West Cameroon. For the defamation case, the maximum penalty is 6 months imprisonment and $4,000 in fines, money he does not have.
Today, ask Mr. Patrick Jones to withdraw this lawsuit.

 

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on March 13th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Jeff Sachs – (c) IIASA       Jeffrey D.Sachs

Jeffrey David Sachs (born November 5, 1954) is professor of economics and Director of The Earth Institute at Columbia University. One of the youngest economics professors in the history of Harvard University (at age 28), Sachs became known for his role as an adviser to Eastern European and developing country governments during the transition from communism to a market system or during periods of economic crisis. Subsequently he has been known for his work on the challenges of economic development, environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation, debt cancellation, and globalization.

 Sachs is Quetelet Professor of Sustainable Development, and Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University. He is Senior Special Advisor to United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on the Millennium Development Goals, having held the same position under former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan. He is Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and co-founder and Chief Strategist of Millennium Promise Alliance, and is director of the Millennium Villages Project.  He has authored three New York Times bestsellers in the past seven years: The End of Poverty (2005), Common Wealth: Economics for a Crowded Planet (2008), and The Price of Civilization (2011). His latest book is To Move the World: JFK’s Quest for Peace.

Sachs is leader in sustainable development and syndicated columnist whose monthly newspaper columns appear in more than 80 countries.

 Now he teaches that the intertwined challenges of economic development, social inclusion, and environmental sustainability must be addressed holistically, or else the world will find itself at dire risk of social instability and environmental calamity.  The path ahead is a narrow one, fraught with difficulties and uncertainties, yet the promise of a better life for billions of people is also realistic.  With proper policies and global cooperation, ours can be the era that ends extreme poverty, stabilizes the world’s population, and ushers in the exciting prospects of a new period of sustainable growth.  

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Some more about Professor Jeffrey D. Sachs:

Academic career

Sachs was raised in Oak Park, a suburb of Detroit, Michigan, the son of Joan (née Abrams) and Theodore Sachs, a labor lawyer.
He attended Harvard College, where he received his B.A. summa cum laude in 1976. He went on to receive his M.A. and Ph.D. in economics from Harvard, and was invited to join the Harvard Society of Fellows while still a Harvard graduate student. In 1980, he joined the Harvard faculty as an assistant professor and was promoted to associate professor in 1982. A year later, at the age of 28, Sachs became a full professor of economics with tenure at Harvard – one of the youngest ever.

During the next 19 years at Harvard, he became the Galen L. Stone Professor of International Trade, director of the Harvard Institute for International Development at the Kennedy School of Government (1995–1999), and director of the Center for International Development (1999–2002).

In 2002, Sachs became the Director of the Earth Institute of Columbia University. His classes are taught at the School of International and Public Affairs and the Mailman School of Public Health, and his course “Challenges of Sustainable Development” is taught at the undergraduate level.

In his capacity as director of the Earth Institute, he leads a university-wide organization of more than 850 professionals from natural-science and social-science disciplines, in support of sustainable development.

Sachs has consistently advocated for the expansion of university education on sustainable development, and helped to introduce the PhD in Sustainable Development at Columbia University, one of the first PhD programs of its kind in the U.S. He championed the new Masters of Development Practice (MDP), which has led to a consortium of major universities around the world offering the new degree. The Earth Institute has also guided the adoption of sustainable development as a new major at Columbia College. The Earth Institute is home to cutting-edge research on all aspects of earth systems and sustainable development.

Sachs’ policy and academic works span the challenges of globalization, and include: the relationship of trade and economic growth; the resource curse and extractive industries; public health and economic development; economic geography; strategies of economic reform; international financial markets; macroeconomic policy; global competitiveness; climate change; and the end of poverty. He has authored or co-authored hundreds of scholarly articles and several books, including three bestsellers and a textbook on macroeconomics that is widely used around the world.

In 2011, Sachs called for the creation of a third U.S. political party, the “Alliance for the Radical Center.

Advising in Latin America and post-communist economies:

Sachs is known for his work as an economic adviser to governments in Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the former Soviet Union. A trained macroeconomist, he advised a number of national governments in the transition from communism to market economies.

In 1985, Bolivia was undergoing hyperinflation and was unable to pay back its debt to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Sachs, an economic adviser to the Bolivian government at the time, drew up an extensive plan, later known as shock therapy, to cut inflation drastically by liberalizing the Bolivian market, ending government subsidies, eliminating import quotas, and linking the Bolivian economy to the US dollar. After Sachs’s plan was implemented, inflation fell from 11,750% to 15% per year from 1985 to 1987.

In 1989, Sachs advised Poland’s anti-communist Solidarity movement and the Government of Prime Minister Tadeusz Mazowiecki. He wrote the first-ever comprehensive plan for the transition from central planning to a market economy, which became incorporated into Poland’s reform program led by Finance Minister Leszek Balcerowicz. Sachs was the main architect of Poland’s successful debt reduction operation. Sachs and IMF economist David Lipton advised the rapid conversion of all property and assets from public to private ownership. Closure of many uncompetitive factories ensued.  In Poland, Sachs was firmly on the side of rapid transition to “normal” capitalism. At first he proposed US-style corporate structures, with professional managers answering to many shareholders and a large economic role for stock markets. That did not fly with the Polish authorities, but he then proposed that large blocks of the shares of privatized companies be placed in the hands of private banks. As  a result, there were some economic shortages and inflation, but prices in Poland eventually stabilized.  The Government of Poland awarded Sachs with one of its highest honors in 1999, the Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit. He also received an honorary doctorate from the Cracow University of Economics.

Sachs’ ideas and methods of transition from central planning were adopted throughout the transition economies. He advised Slovenia (1991) and Estonia (1992) in the introduction of new stable and convertible currencies. Based on Poland’s success, he was invited first by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and then by Russian President Boris Yeltsin on the transition to a market economy. He served as advisor to Prime Minister Yegor Gaidar and Finance Minister Boris Federov during 1991-93 on macroeconomic policies. He received the Leontief Medal of the Leontief Centre, St. Petersburg, for his contributions to Russia’s economic reforms.

Work on global sustainable economic development

More recently, Sachs has turned to global issues of economic development, poverty alleviation, health and aid policy, and environmental sustainability. He has written extensively on climate change, disease control, and globalization, and is one of the world’s leading experts on the fight against poverty and sustainable development.

Since 1995, Sachs has been deeply engaged in efforts to alleviate poverty in Africa. He has worked in more than two dozen African countries, and has advised the African leadership at several African Union summits. In the mid-1990s he worked with senior officials of the Clinton Administration to develop the concept of the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). He has engaged with dozens of African leaders to promote smallholder agriculture and to fight high disease burdens through strengthened primary health systems. His pioneering ideas on investing in health to break the poverty trap have been widely applied throughout the continent. He currently serves as an advisor to several African governments, including Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, and Uganda, among others.

In his 2005 work, The End of Poverty, Sachs wrote “Africa’s governance is poor because Africa is poor.” According to Sachs, with the right policies and key interventions, extreme poverty — defined as living on less than $1 a day — can be eradicated within 20 years. India and China serve as examples, with the latter lifting 300 million people out of extreme poverty during the last two decades. Sachs has said that a key element to accomplishing this is raising aid from $65 billion in 2002 to $195 billion a year by 2015. He emphasizes the role of geography and climate, as much of Africa is landlocked and disease-prone. However, he stresses that these problems can be overcome.

Sachs suggests that with improved seeds, irrigation, and fertilizer, the crop yields in Africa and other places with subsistence farming can be increased from 1 ton/hectare to 3-5 tons/hectares. He reasons that increased harvests would significantly increase the income of subsistence farmers, thereby reducing poverty. Sachs does not believe that increased aid is the only solution. He also supports establishing credit and microloan programs, which are often lacking in impoverished areas. Sachs has also advocated the distribution of free insecticide-treated bed nets to combat malaria. The economic impact of malaria has been estimated to cost Africa US$12 billion per year. Sachs estimates that malaria can be controlled for US$3 billion per year, thus suggesting that anti-Malaria projects would be an economically justified investment.

From 2002 to 2006, Sachs was the Director of the UN Millennium Project and Special Advisor to then Secretary-General Kofi Annan on the Millennium Development Goals. Sachs founded the Millennium Villages Project, a plan dedicated to ending extreme poverty in various parts of sub-Saharan Africa through targeted agricultural, medical, and educational interventions. Along with philanthropist Ray Chambers, Sachs founded Millennium Promise, a nonprofit organization, to help the Earth Institute fund and operate the Millennium Villages Project.

The Millennium Villages Project, which he directs, operates in more than one dozen African countries, and covers more than 500,000 people. The MVP has achieved notable successes in raising agricultural production, reducing children’s stunting, and cutting child mortality rates, with the results described in several peer-reviewed publications. Its key concepts of integrated rural development to achieve the MDGs are now being applied at national scale in Nigeria and Mali, and are being used by many other countries to help support national anti-poverty programs. He works very closely with the Islamic Development Bank to scale up programs of integrated rural development and sustainable agriculture among the Bank’s member countries. One such project supports pastoralist communities in Eastern Africa, with six participating nations: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan.

Since the adoption of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in 2000, Sachs has been the leading academic scholar and practitioner on the MDGs. He chaired the WHO Commission on Macroeconomics and Health (2000-1), which played a pivotal role in scaling up the financing of health care and disease control in the low-income countries to support MDGs 4, 5, and 6. He worked with UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in 2000-1 to design and launch the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. He worked closely with senior officials of the George W. Bush administration to develop the PEPFAR program to fight HIV/AIDS, and the PMI to fight malaria. On behalf of Annan, from 2002-2006 he chaired the UN Millennium Project, which was tasked with developing a concrete action plan to achieve the MDGs. The UN General Assembly adopted the key recommendations of the UN Millennium Project at a special session in September 2005. The recommendations for rural Africa are currently being implemented and documented in the Millennium Villages, and in several national scale-up efforts such as in Nigeria.

Now a Special Adviser to current Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Sachs is still a leading advocate for the Millennium Development Goals, frequently meeting with foreign dignitaries and heads of state. He has also become a close friend of international celebrities Bono and Angelina Jolie, both of whom have traveled to Africa with Sachs to witness the progress of the Millennium Villages.

In August 2012, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the launch of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), which will mobilize scientific and technical expertise from academia, civil society, and the private sector in support of sustainable-development problem solving at local, national, and global scales. The Network convenes 12 global expert Thematic Groups on key sustainable development challenges that will identify common solutions and highlight best practices, and over time will launch projects to pilot or roll-out solutions to sustainable development challenges and assist countries in developing sustainable long-term development pathways.

Sachs has been a consistent critic of the IMF and its policies around the world. He has blasted the international bankers for what he sees as a pattern of ineffective investment strategies.

In Vienna, Sachs presented THE AGE OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT as an unavoidable direction for the future of humanity and stated clearly that he is an optimist and knows that in the end we will move in the right direction.

 

Event Details

Wednesday, 12 March, 2014, 18:00
The Aula of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (1010 Vienna, Dr. Ignaz Seipel-Platz 2).

PRESENTED BY:

 

 


 The event was chaired jointly by Professor Pavel Kabat, the Director General of IIASA, Professor Anton Zeilinger – the institutional host, the President of the Austrian Academy of Sciences – the location host, and Dr. Franz Fischler the President of the European Forum Alpbach of Austria.

————–

We heard an announcement about the creation of a new Think Tank based on the network that UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon charged Professor Sachs to be its catalyst - that UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) of institutions dispersed globally.  IIASA will organize one of these institutions and Professor Sachs will become in the future a more frequent visitor at IIASA. – perhaps IIASA will be a major locus for this Network. I understand that right the following day a small meeting at IIASA, with the participation of 10 people, will start on this endeavor.

THUS THE START OF A NEW PATH TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT WITH THE UNDERSTANDING AND THE MANAGING OF COMPLEX SYSTEMS. Sachs pointed out that we proved to be so successful in extracting things and producing things that lead us to the present challenges – but these same qualities are also what will help us – - in the future – when applying them to reverse the present trend of self destruction by finding the right technologies that will move us in the right direction.

We are now the first generation that can bring havoc to the planet through our exploitation of it, but we will also be those that can apply the corrections. Sachs loves to quote President Kennedy who seems to be his idol – “Man holds in his hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty and all forms of human life!” as per the January 20, 1963 Inaugural Address.

Sachs reminded us that 1692 billionaires (in dollars) hold  $6.3 trillion dollars in their possession – and this inequality is the great challenge we face. It is combined further with environmental and social issues. When the past century has raised the ocean level by 75 cm in New York City it was the poor that suffer most. He saw in the recent floods in New York that only the Goldman Sachs building was lit – this because they knew not to put the back-up generators in the basement – like all others did. Beijing that got its floods earlier, got now choked in smog – and the WHO advised people to stay indoors – think of the best economic development in history and now they have the worst air and water.

Professor Sachs went on to look at the Middle East and at Syria in particular. He drew intersecting circles for Social Systems (dynamics), the Economy (Techno-Economy), Earth Systems and Governance and pointed out how countries that lived in peace for centuries with the different population groups side-by-side were now at each other’s throat. He suggested to take the temperature of the social trust of societies. Then to analyze governance of the political system and the business system – eventually to look at political governance – and to see how this impacts on the stress.

Sachs looked at the US-Saudi-Turkey line-up vs. the Russia-Iran line up in regard to Syria – then looked at Mega-droughts and Sectarian Divisions – crops fail and reduce human security.

Complex systems have pivot points – the world does not care if poor hungry people when facing calamity tend to find a way out via migration – and disease, epidemics, violence – unrest can happen quickly. To bring home his points Professor Sachs showed us the map of the Middle East droughts and we saw how it fits also the violence patterns.

Looking closer to home – to the US – Professor Sachs sees there the lack of “Points of View” – it could be dangerous for politicians to have a point of view, he said. We need planning in the US – but after the Soviet Union was gone the belief in the US seems to be that planning is a NO! NO! Markets are great institutions for distribution – but they do not plan.

Power can come from investing in young people. He also found that bad experience of parents can be passed to children – 2 generations down – and we do not understand how – but it is real he said.

Professor Sachs advocated that every country needed an energy plan – a strategy – it need not be the same. We destroy land, acidify water and lead to extinction of species – 30% of the world food is lost in transmission from farms to consumers. He mentioned the power of Hedge Funds but pointed out that 0.7% of the income on earth could help close the gap with the poor. He kept stressing that Wellbeing is not measured by GDP.

People want to live in societies that have social support systems.

Professor Sachs turned back to his Idol – President Kennedy and said that equal compliments deserved also Mr. Nikita Khrushchev, when the two went ahead with the partial nuclear treaty and said that the need was to have the Americans to change themselves and not just to try to change the world of their adversaries. Kennedy and Krushev were partners and both had opponents among the extremes in their systems.

Kennedy said: Let us not be blind to our differences but let us also direct attention to our common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved.

So, now – let us end poverty by 2030 – we know people are up to this challenge.

The most important vocabulary is built with the words – Poverty, Economy, Inclusion, Health, Food, Cities, and ENERGY/CLIMATE, Biodiversity, Governance – of which is built the  SDNS Action Plan, 2013.

 

Illustrative SDGs:

1.
End Extreme Poverty Including
Hunger
POVERTY

2.
Achieve
Growth and Jobs
within Planetary
Boundaries
ECONOMY

3.
Effective Education for
All Children and Youth for Life and
Livelihood
EDUCATION

4.
Achieve Gender Equality, Social Inclusion, and Human Rights for
All
INCLUSION

5.
Achieve Health and Wellbeing at All
Ages
HEALTH

6.
Improve Agricultural Systems and Rural
Productivity
FOOD

7.
Empower Inclusive, Productive, and Resilient
Cities
CITIES

8.
Curb
Climate
Change and Ensure Sustainable
Energy
ENERGY/CLIMATE

9.
Secure Ecosystem
Services, Biodiversity, Water, Natural Resources
BIODIVERSITY

10. Transform Government for Sustainable Development
GOVERNANCE

 

The Kennedy goal to put a man on the moon in a decade can be the inspiration for goals like “Save the Planet,” “Save other Species” …  WE ALL BREATH THE SAME AIR, WE ALL CHERISH OUR CHILDREN’S FUTURE, AND WE ARE ALL MORTAL  (JFK, June 10, 1963).

 

Main points of the presentartion:
 www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/ev…

——————–

CONTACT DETAILS:

Pavel Kabat

IIASA Director General and Chief Executive Officer Directorate

T +43(0) 2236 807 402

Claudia Heilig-Staindl

Executive Assistant Directorate

T +43(0) 2236 807 266

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) – Schlossplatz 1 – A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 – Fax: (+43 2236) 71 313 – info@iiasa.ac.at

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 9th, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Supported by the Permanent Mission of El Salvador to the UN,
The Journalists & Writers Foundation (JWF) – an ECOSOC NGO at the UN – based in Turkey, and
The Peace Islands Institute based in New York City

Chaired by Galymshan Kirbasov, Adjunct Faculty at Columbia University with a pannel :

Mr. Huseyin Hurmali, Vice President JWF,

H.E. Carlos Enrique Garcia Gonzalez, El Salvador Ambassador to the UN,

Prof. Alastair Smith, Dept of Politics at the New York University,

Prof. Severine Autesserre, Barnard College, Columbia University,

Prof. Johannes Urpelainen, Columbia University,

Friday, February 7, 2014 – during the lunch-break time slot at the last day of the 8-th Session of the OWG on the topic of the post-2015 SDGs.

The JWF is active since 1994 in efforts to promote love, tolerance and dialogue in an effort to create common living space based on reconciliation and mutual respect. The strategy is to bring together people from different backgrounds in order to find intellectual capital for social peace. They are active in 146 countries on 5 continents. and are inspired by the philosophy of the Turkish preacher, former imam, writer, and Islamic opinion leader  who lives  in self-imposed exile to Saylorsburg, Pennsylvania – Mr. Fethullah Gulen.

Why is Fethullah Gulen's stance vis-à-vis Mavi Marmara wrong?
Throughout his life and until today, Fethullah Gulen has been greatly influenced by the ideas and writings of many great Muslim scholars, amongst them: Said Nursi, Mawlana Jalaladdin Rumi, Abu Hanifa, Ghazali, Imam Rabbani, Yunus Emre.

In line with these great thinkers, Fethullah Gulen’s philosophy and writings embody ideas of altruistic service to one’s community and likewise to humanity in general; harmony between intelligence and heart; sincerity; a holistic view of the human; a profound devotion and love of creation. Throughout his life, Mr. Gulen has been noted for his support of democracy, science, dialogue and non-violence.
In 1994, Mr. Gulen co-founded the “Journalists and Writers Foundation” and was given the title “Honorary President” by the foundation. In March 1999, upon the recommendation of his doctors, Fethullah Gulen moved to the U.S. to receive medical care.

In July 2008, Fethullah Gulen was voted the top public intellectual in the world by Foreign Policy Magazine.
He is serving also as the Honorary President of the Rumi Forum since 1999. He was recently listed by Time 100 of 2013.

Despite the high regard millions hold for him, Mr. Gulen considers himself a volunteering member of the civil society movement he helped found and does not accept any credit of leadership for the Hizmet (Service) Movement.

Fethullah Gulen devotes his time to reading, writing, and religious devotion. He has based his understanding of service upon this guiding principle, ‘living to let others live’ (‘yasatmak icin yasamak’ in Turkish).

The Gülen movement has been described as “having the characteristics of a cult” and its secretiveness and influence in Turkish politics likened to “an Islamic Opus Dei.     In the Turkish context, Gülen appears as a religious conservative.

Gülen is actively involved in the societal debate concerning the future of the Turkish state and Islam in the modern world. Gullen has millions of followers in Turkey and outside Turkey.

His teachings differ in emphasis from those of other mainstream Islamic scholars in two respects, both based on his interpretations of particular verses of the Quran. Let us repeat this – He teaches that the Muslim community has a duty of service (Turkish: hizmet) to the “common good” of the community and the nationand to Muslims and non-Muslims all over the world; and also that the Muslim community is obliged to conduct interfaith dialogue with the “People of the Book” (Jews and Christians) – though this does not extend to other religions and it seems he dislikes atheists

His teachings about hizmet (altruistic service to the “common good”) have attracted a large number of supporters in Turkey, Central Asia, and increasingly in other parts of the world.

Gülen has supported Turkey’s bid to join the European Union and has said that neither Turkey nor the EU have anything to fear, but have much to gain, from a future of full Turkish membership in the EU.

Gülen has condemned terrorism. He warns against the phenomenon of arbitrary violence and aggression against civilians and said that it “has no place in Islam”. He wrote a condemnation article in the Washington Post on September 12, 2001, one day after the September 11 attacks, and stated that “A Muslim can not be a terrorist, nor can a terrorist be a true Muslim.” Gülen lamented the “hijacking of Islam” by terrorists.

Gülen criticized the Turkish-led Gaza flotilla for trying to deliver aid without Israel’s consent. He spoke of watching the news coverage of the deadly confrontation between Israeli commandos and multinational aid group members as its flotilla approached Israel’s sea blockade of Gaza. He said, “What I saw was not pretty, it was ugly.” He has since continued his criticism, saying later that the organizers’ failure to seek accord with Israel before attempting to deliver aid was “a sign of defying authority, and will not lead to fruitful matters.

Gülen is strongly against Turkish involvement in the Syrian Civil War. No doubt in our mind – Gullen is best advised not to return to Turkey or to any Muslim led country these days.

 

Despite Gülen’s and his followers’ claims that the organization is non-political in nature, analysts believe that a number of corruption-related arrests made against allies of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdo?an reflect a growing political power struggle between Gülen and the prime minister. These arrests led to the 2013 corruption scandal in Turkey, which the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP)’s supporters (along with Erdo?an himself) and the opposition parties alike have said was choreographed by Gülen after Erdo?an’s government came to the decision early in December 2013 to shut down many of his movement’s private Islamic schools in Turkey.

The ongoing power struggle between the Erdo?an government and the Gülenists in the police force and the judiciary has allegedly revealed the existence of a well-organized and powerful “parallel state” directed by Gülen himself.The scandals uncovered what the Erdo?an government has said are the long term political agenda of Gülen’s movement to infiltrate security, intelligence, and justice institutions of the Turkish state, a charge almost identical to the charges found against Gülen by the Chief Prosecutor of the Republic of Turkey in his trial in 2000 before Erdo?an’s party had come into power. Gülen was tried in absentia in 2000, and acquitted in 2008 under Erdo?an’s AKP government from these charges.

In emailed comments to the Wall Street Journal in January 2014, Gülen said that “Turkish people … are upset that in the last two years democratic progress is now being reversed,” but he denied being part of a plot to unseat the government  ] Later, in January 2014, in an interview with BBC World, Gulen said “If I were to say anything to people I may say people should vote for those who are respectful to democracy, rule of law, who get on well with people. Telling or encouraging people to vote for a party would be an insult to peoples’ intellect. Everybody very clearly sees what is going on.

————————————————————–

After this large introduction about one unusual intellectual Muslim living now in the US – let us see now what the Journalists & Writers Foundation and their Panel of Academics  have as advise to the UN?

Professor Alastair Smith, who studied for years hunger in Ethiopia found that foreign aid funds that do-good NGOs funelled to ethiopian government or local NGOs never reached their intended targets for help, but were rather reaching arms dealers to supply the forces involved in the ongoing civil war. The money helped the dictators in order to increase the misery that was providing them with outside funding – a convenient cycle to them. So, the EU gave money through the UN affiliates to support arm exporters? Did I just hear an honest description of how the concept of Sovereignty at the UN makes it hard to do humanitarian work through the UN?

A Democratic Donor feeding money to an Autocratic Recipient is a self defeating procedure – anyone at the UN is honest enough to accept this true fact?

The Democracy helping the authoritarian government to keep the peace for trade and export of commodities, may look as a good deal to the democracy – but guess what – the poor people that were not helped by this will now hate the Democracy even more then their direct oppressors.

Then – if you get elected to the Security Council you get more aid then in the years you are not on the Security Council – that he checked easily by using not only indicators that related to GDP and growth in poor authoritarian countries that rotate in and out of the UN Security Council. He also checked indices of Human Rights and Freedom of the Press – and found that these are connected to aid money as well. When it arrives and when it is lower.

If you are supposed to do preventive work to avoid floods – but you find that aid money arrives after the floods did occur, you find it convenient to have those floods. What now with Climate Change an increasing  factor? The remedy?
Do not give Misery-Money – rather Pay for Success Stories!
Some pearls from Prof. Smith I found on the Internet:The Dictator's Handbook 2011 PublicAffairs.

Quick study: Alastair Smith on political tyranny

How to be a dictator

 

 

ALASTAIR SMITH is professor of politics at New York University. The recipient of three grants from the National Science Foundation and author of three books, he was chosen as the 2005 Karl Deutsch Award winner, given biennially to the best international-relations scholar under the age of 40. He is co-author of “The Dictator's Handbook: How Bad Behaviour is Almost Always Good Politics” (2011).

To whom do your guidelines apply?

Everyone. It doesn't matter whether you are a dictator, a democratic leader, head of a charity or a sports organisation, the same things go on. Firstly, you don't rule by yourself—you need supporters to keep you there, and what determines how you best survive is how many supporters you have and how big a pool you can draw these supporters from.

Do they actually have to support me, or can I just terrify them into supporting me by threatening them with death?

No, they absolutely have to support you on some level. You can't personally go around and terrorise everyone. Our poor old struggling Syrian president is not personally killing people on the streets. He needs the support of his family, senior generals who are willing to go out and kill people on his behalf.  The common misconception is that you need support from the vast majority of the population, but that's typically not true. There is all this protest on Wall Street, but CEOs are keeping the people they need to keep happy happy—the members of the board, senior management and a few key investors—because they are the people who can replace them. Protesters on Wall Street have no ability to remove the CEOs. So in a lot of countries the masses are terrified but the supporters are not.

What about Stalin? Even his inner circle was terrified.

Well, the brilliance of the Soviet regime was not just that you relied on few people, but that there were lots of replacements. In a tsarist system you have to rely only on aristocrats, but in a Soviet system everyone can be your supporter. This puts your core circle on notice that they are easily replaced. That, of course, made them horribly loyal. The Mob are very good at this.

Suggested viewing: "On The Waterfront" (1954)

This sounds typically mammalian to me—just groups of gorillas with a silverback?

It is virtually impossible to find any example where leaders are not acting in their own self interest. If you are a democrat you want to gerrymander districts and have an electoral college. This vastly reduces the number of votes a president needs to win an election.  Then tax very highly. It's much better to decide who gets to eat than to let the people feed themselves. If you lower taxes people will do more work, but then people will get rewards that aren't coming through you. Everything good must come through you. Look at African farm subsidies. The government buys crops at below market price by force. This is a tax on farmers who then can't make a profit. So, how do you reward people? The government subsidises fertilisers and hands it back that way. In Tanzania vouchers for fertilisers are handed out not to the most productive areas but to the party loyalist areas. This is always subject to the constraint that if you tax too highly people won't work. This is the big debate in the US. The Republicans are saying that the Democrats have too many taxes and want to suppress workers. But when they were in power five years ago they had no problem with taxing and spending policies, but now it's taxing their supporters to reward Democrats.

Suggested reading: "Markets and States in Tropical Africa: The Political Basis of Agricultural Policy" by Robert Bates (2005)

Okay. So, I have a small group of rewarded cronies and a highly taxed population. Now what?
Don't pay your supporters too much! You don't want them saving up and forming their own power base. Also, don't be nice to the people at the expense of your coalition. A classic example is natural disasters. Than Shwe was the ruler of Burma when Cyclone Nargis hit in 2008, and he did nothing to help the people. The Generals didn't warn anybody; though they knew it was coming, they provided virtually no emergency protection. He sent the army in to prevent the people from leaving the flooded Delta areas. He was the perfect example of a leader who never made the mistake of putting the people's welfare above himself and his coalition.

But what if you really are trying to work for the common good? Is there no way of doing that?

None. If you're working for the common good you didn't come to power in the first place. If you're not willing to cheat, steal, murder and bribe then you don't come to power.

What if you're Lech Walesa?

I'm pretty certain he had his own political power base. He wanted to make society more inclusive. This is always the battle cry of revolutionary leaders. When they get into power they change their tune. The real question is what stops politicians from backsliding once they get in? Typically, it's that the country is broke and the only way you can get people to work is by empowering them socially, but once you do that it becomes hard to take powers back from them. Broke countries are the ones that end up having the political reforms that make them nice places with good economic policy in the long run. Places where there is oil, like Libya, have a very low chance of having democracy. The leaders don't really need the people to pay the bills of their cronies, because they have oil.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

French speaking Professor Severine Autesserre had first hand experience in Congo.

Dr. Autesserre’s current research project examines how everyday elements influence international peacebuilding interventions on the ground. She has conducted extensive fieldwork for this project between 2010 and 2012, with a primary case study on the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo and comparative research in Burundi, Cyprus, Israel and the Palestinian Territories, South Sudan, and Timor-Leste. Findings from this project have appeared in Critique Internationale and African Affairs, and Dr. Autesserre is finalizing a book entitled Peacebuilders: An Ethnography of International Intervention (forthcoming with Cambridge University Press in 2014).

 

Professor Autesserre's previous research project focused on local violence and international intervention in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo, where she has traveled regularly since 2001. It culminated in the book The Trouble with the Congo: Local Violence and the Failure of International Peacebuilding (Cambridge University Press, 2010). The book won the 2012 Grawemeyer Award for Ideas Improving World Order and the 2011 Chadwick Alger prize presented by the International Studies Association to the best book on international organizations and multilateralism. Research for this project has also appeared in Foreign Affairs, International Organization, the Review of African Political Economy, the African Studies Review, the African Security Review, the Revista de Relaciones Internationales, and the Journal of Humanitarian Affairs.

Professor Autesserre's work has been supported by two research awards from the United States Institute of Peace (2004-2005 and 2010-2012), two Harry Frank Guggenheim Foundation research grants (2010 and 2011), a Presidential Research Award from Barnard (2010-2011), several grants from Columbia University (2010 – 2012), two Mellon Fellowships in Security and Humanitarian Action (2004-2006), and a Fulbright Fellowship (1999-2000). Her Ph.D. dissertation at New York University was nominated for the award for best dissertation for 2007 in the areas of in international relations, law, and politics. Her paper "Local Violence, National Peace? Post-war 'Settlement' in the Eastern D.R. Congo," was awarded the Graduate Student Paper Prize Award of the African Studies Association in 2006.

Professor Autesserre has extensive experience working with international humanitarian and development agencies in Afghanistan, Kosovo, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nicaragua, India, and the United States. She has worked for organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and Doctors of the World.

Professor Autesserre says that in Congo a main problem was that outside intervention  did very little work with grass-roots - it was rather a top-down story for a top-down solution.

The Trouble with the Congo

Prof. Séverine Autesserre pens op-ed about Congo for The New York Times
Political science professor urges support of local grassroots efforts to establish peace.

among Working papers:

The Responsibility to Protect in the Congo: The Failure of Prevention
Chapter in O’Bannon, Brett; Roth, John; and Bellamy, Alex (eds.) The Evolution of the Responsibility to Protect: Imperfect Duties?, Global Politics and the Responsibility to Protect series, Routledge, accepted for publication, forthcoming 2014

French speaking Prof. Autresserre analyses the local reasons that in times of stress cause peaceful neighbors to turn against each other leading to scale-up, or if you wish a bottom-to-top fight. But she finds also the total lack of preventive work by outsiders that appear is if to help after the fact and address this as a top-to-bottom issue. Sustainable Development as a preventive means is the way to go but she makes it clear that we are in a two-way system - tus the title of our meeting.So in summary - LOCAL CONFLICT HINDERS DEVELOPMENT - MAKE PEACE SUSTAINABLE!

The Congo is her forte - it got disorganized via Belgium colonialism, and a question from the audience was about Mozambique - the former Portuguese colony. How is it that there the same post-colonialism period got its differences tamed down rather early. What else could one infer from this? The answer was not clear - it may be that a better local leadership evolved earlier. Whatever, the conclusion is still that conflict must be resolved from bottom-up and outside funding has to go to local support.

---------------------------------------------------------------

Professor Johannes Urpelainen of the Political Science Department at Columbia is closest to our own themes.

He spoke recently  at Yale Climate& Energy Institute examining the potential for using renewable sources of energy, notably solar power, to combat energy poverty in India where two-thirds of the population relies on traditional biomass for cooking and one-third does not have access to basic household electricity. His presentation argued that solar power holds a lot of promise for providing deprived rural communities with basic electricity services, but power sector reforms are necessary for the provision of larger, productive loads of power.

He also described an experimental research design for identifying the socio-economic effects of solar power on rural communities in Uttar Pradesh.

Also of interest we found his:
Explaining the Schwarzenegger Phenomenon: Local Frontrunners in Climate Policy. 2009. Global Environmental Politics 9 (3): 82-105.

examines the potential for using renewable sources of energy, notably solar power, to combat energy poverty in India where two-thirds of the population relies on traditional biomass for cooking and one-third does not have access to basic household electricity. His presentation argues that solar power holds a lot of promise for providing deprived rural communities with basic electricity services, but power sector reforms are necessary for the provision of larger, productive loads of power.  He also describes an experimental research design for identifying the socio-economic effects of solar power on rural communities in Uttar Pradesh. - See more at: climate.yale.edu/event/can-renewa...

the potential for using renewable sources of energy, notably solar power, to combat energy poverty in India where two-thirds of the population relies on traditional biomass for cooking and one-third does not have access to basic household electricity. His presentation argues that solar power holds a lot of promise for providing deprived rural communities with basic electricity services, but power sector reforms are necessary for the provision of larger, productive loads of power.  He also describes an experimental research design for identifying the socio-economic effects of solar power on rural communities in Uttar Pradesh. - See more at: climate.yale.edu/event/can-renewa...

Can Renewables Address Energy Poverty in India?
Can Renewables Address Energy Poverty in India?

At the meeting at the UN he took for granted that Peace is a precondition for Sustainable Development but raised the question if indeed Sustainable Development is a pre-condition for Peace.  This is more complicated and not so clear. In effect,  just a few years ago it seemed not accepted yet that environmental dgradation leads to violence. This changed now with our awareness of Climate Change and its effects.

Higher temperatures in Africa co-relates  with the starting of wars. He continued by saying:

"WE MUST CONSIDER WHAT WE DO HERE IN AMERICA AS A REASON OF WAR THERE IN AFRICA" - "WE MUST FIND NEW WAYS TO TREAT LOCAL ENVIRONMENTAL STRESS."     {I did the unusual thing and clapped my hands.}

"Green Growth is important also in the developing countries of the south. This because what happens in India will influence Africa and this will influence us here as well."

If you are a poor country there is little you can do to prepare yourself - you find that misery is transferred to you from the outside via Global Warming.

For SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT THE ENVIRONMENTAL DIMENSION MUST BE CONSIDERED IN THE SDGs,
he stressed.

---------------------

In the discussion that followed it was stressed from around the table that Congo (and Mozambique) are among the wealthiest countries in the world because of the presence of large natural resources. In Congo the revenue flow to the government lets nothing for the people. This is actually a resource curse that is at the root of problems. AID is negative. The problem is that there are many rich people and their income is not taxed so there is no official money for the poor. This is an outside involvement problem and a lack of governance. It is the pits.

The Peace Islands hosts of the meeting mentioned here Syria where the conflict involves the people versus the government directly. To which Prof Autesserre said that you must have different policies for different dimensions of conflict. This gets us to the issue of how we react to the concept of the Sovereignty of the State. We must approach this in a way we support the local actors without creating the feeling that we take over the State. That was the problem that has led t people hating the US when it acted as a tool to regime change.

Migration was mentioned - also here the issue is internal migration as separate from international migration. Africa has a set of rules for internal migration under the Kampala agreement - but there is nothing in the books about external migration.

------------------------------

In relation to this panel, I will also include an official UN panel that made its work now that same day - actually in parallel - that same time.

Chaired by former South Africa President Thabo Mbeki with a Vice-President from business, Carlos Lopez, as his co-chair,  and other 8 distinguished members, the UN High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows that leave Africa, was established by the UN Secretary-General and the UN General Assembly President. This Panel announced its findings - and they are atrocious - showcasing what our Panel was all about.

As said in the opening speech by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson of Sweden, it is $50 billion per year that leave Africa - the damage to individuals and Africa's development and governance agenda as a whole. This figure is much higher then the official ODA that goes to Africa - so is it not that Africa's poor actually finance the World's rich?
Eliasson continued and said that this is looked at by the Un, not just for Africa, in regard to the post-2015 Development Agenda
that will have to address the illicit flows and tax evasions and help recover some of these stollen assets.

The Panel's findings were that two thirds of the out-flow from Africa came from the two regions - West Africa (38% and North Africa 28%. The other regions were as follows: Southern Africa 13%, Eastern Africa 11%, and Central Africa 10%.

The money came from OIL and  PRECIOUS METALS AND MINERALS - with 3-4% sourced each from categories - ores, machinery, fruits and nuts, copper, iron &steel, cocoa, textiles, fish and crustaceans.
This meaning that about 75% came from the exports of oil, gold, platinum, and diamonds.

Further - Corruption defined as - bribery, embezzlement - accounted only for 5% of the financial flows  - with 35% defined as Criminal activities such as the trade in drugs, weapons, and people.
Astonishingly this leaves 60% as leaving the continent in Commercial transactions through multinational companies.

Under-Secretar-General Eliasson commended the Panel for their research and for reaching out to officials from: "the United States Government, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and others in Washington Dc - and looks forward to further insights the distinguished members of the Panel will have on this important issue."

---------------------------------

One last comment about all of this regards the UN Department of Public Information and the official UN Spokesman for the Secretary General.

That office's MEDIA ALERT knew to announce only a 1:15 pm Panel discussion of "Decent Jobs in the Transition to a Sustainable Economy" - totally by-passing any reference to the PRESS about the Peace and Sustainable Development panel - but that is an old story - some at DPI just do not like the Sustainable Development concept - it is too closely related to a future decrease of oil money flows.

On the other hand - they had to make place for a few minutes to President Mbeki - that would have been too much to cut him out - but that same day they did cut out completely the event with the President of the UN General Assembly by first announcing 10 minutes with his spokesperson Ms. Afaf Konja and then pushing her out as it obviously was going to fall to the way-side because of "Stake-Outs" at the Security Council. Oh Well - did we ever believe the UN bureaucracy will help?

 

the potential for using renewable sources of energy, notably solar power, to combat energy poverty in India where two-thirds of the population relies on traditional biomass for cooking and one-third does not have access to basic household electricity. His presentation argues that solar power holds a lot of promise for providing deprived rural communities with basic electricity services, but power sector reforms are necessary for the provision of larger, productive loads of power.  He also describes an experimental research design for identifying the socio-economic effects of solar power on rural communities in Uttar Pradesh. - See more at: climate.yale.edu/event/can-renewa...

Can Renewables Address Energy Poverty in India?

 

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 30th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


US Month Ends with Kerry – & Hate Speech? – in UNSC.
Samantha Power in Wings

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, July 29 — As the United States’ month as President of the UN Security Council comes to a close, it’s time to review it as best as we can. Secretary of State John Kerry came once, on a July 25 day trip, to chair the meeting on Africa’s Great Lakes region.

While there, the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s foreign minister said that all rebellions in the region bear the same “genetic signature.”

After diplomats from a number of member states complained this was hate speech, even “genocide talk,” Inner City Press asked the US Mission to the UN if it had a comment. Apparently it had none, as least as of yet.

And outside the US Mission on July 25, after a two hour wait for a 45 second photo op of Kerry and Syria oppositionist al Jarba, Kerry told Inner City Press he hadn’t heard the comment. Fine – but it was in the DRC’s written speech, and is on UN Webcast. UN video here at 1:06:20

(The US Mission did, we note, provide a response from Kurtis Cooper about cholera in Haiti at the beginning of the month, and from Payton Knopf about the rapes in Minova in November by the Congolese Army near the end of the month, here.)

Ambassador Rosemary DiCarlo handled the presidency ably, held a number of stakeouts; Jeffrey DeLaurentis held one, and answered questions on Darfur. But what’s been done on the seven peacekeepers killed there?

Syria was and is the “big one.” Interesting, at the General Assembly session on July 29, the US was humble. While the UK’s Mark Lyall Grant and even France’s fill-in for Gerard Araud went to the front and inveigh, Ambassador DiCarlo spoke from her seat, later in the meeting. Will this be Samantha Power’s approach when, as seems sure to happen, she arrives?

Among diplomats asked Monday by Inner City Press about Samantha Power, a number noted things she’d said at her confirmation hearing. That the US has nothing to apologize for about the Rwanda genocide struck some more than others as a false note, inconsistent with her book “A Problem from Hell.” But what will she do, once at the UN? Watch this site.

Footnote: there are three mandate renewals to be “done” on July 30. Of them, Inner City Press is told that the Cote d’Ivoire renewal might, just might, have “explanations of vote,” on the draw-down of peacekeepers and on “ICC issues.” Others say it will just fly through without a single explanation. We’ll see.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on April 10th, 2013
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

On Rwanda Genocide, UN Silent on Its Own Role, So ICP Asks, Duhozanye Answers

 

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, April 9 — When the UN invited two Rwanda genocide survivors to speak on April 9, commemorating 19 years after UN peacekeepers left in the face of mass murder, one expected the “lessons learned” to also be about the UN.

  But the formal presentation asked Daphrose Mukarutamu, founder of the Duhozanye organization, and her fellow survivor only about reconciliation in the country. The UN Women panelist, Nahla Valji, spoke about the gacaca courts.

  But in terms of “Never Again,” what of the UN’s own performance, its abandonment of the victim, even helping the genocidaires to escape into Eastern Congo?

  As we have noted, current chief of UN Peacekeeping Herve Ladsous in 1994 as Deputy Permanent Representative of France advocated for and facilitated this rescue of genocidaires, through “Operation Turquiose.”

Ladsous refused to answer Inner City Press questions about his role, then refused to answer ANY questions from Inner City Press, including about rapes by the Congolese Army, his partners.Video at  On Tuesday night, the UN did not ask about these issues either. So Inner City Press did. YouTube video as above.

  Daphrose Mukarutamu replied with dignity that members of Duhozanye have testified in Arusha against those who committed the genocide, and the government is trying to track more down.

  But what of, for example, Callitxe Mbarushimana, who while working for UNDP in 1994 used UN vehicles and radios to kill at least three dozen Tutsis, including Florence Ngirumpatse, the director of personnel at UNDP’s office in Kigali?

  The UN let him keep working for them, in Angola where he was not even language qualified, until he was outed in 2001 working for the UN in Kosovo. Even then, he was paid an additional $35,000.

  After Inner City Press’ question, and Daphrose Mukarutamu’s answer, a participant hissed to Inner City Press, do you think that question elevated the discussion?

  It had to be asked. It should have been in the introduction. It should have been in Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s canned statement over the weekend. And it will continued to be asked.

  Duhozanye is composed of, and cares for, genocide survivors, now focusing on those who are aging without family members to take care of them. They want to start a retirement community. The event was strangely lacking in contact information for them. But we suggest an Internet search: Duhozanye. And check out, as well, Callitxe Mbarushimana and the history of Herve Ladsous, while you’re at it.

Footnote: the UN Department of Public Information, the evening’s host, does some good programs, and surely will do more. But they should have included some mention of the UN’s own role.

 And, just within UN Headquarters itself, they should be more forthright about how and why they raided the office of Inner City Press without consent or even notice on March 18, and how photographs they took were leaked to BuzzFeed.com on March 21. The Rwandan mission is aware of what DPI did, even referred to it on UNTV earlier this month. Accountability, high and low. Or impunity?

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on December 1st, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

WHY DOES NOT SOMEONE SPEAK THE TRUTH TO THE UN GENERAL ASSEMBLY AND ITS SECURITY COUNCIL?

THE LARGEST STATES OF AFRICA MUST BE BROKEN UP IN ORDER TO ALLOW THE PEOPLE CREATE THE GOVERNMENT THEY NEED SO THEY CAN  THRIVE FROM THE HUGE RESOURCES THESE COUNTRIES POSSES. ANYTHING ELSE IS SIMPLY THE CONTINUATION OF COLONIALISM BY PROXY EMPIRES.

SUDAN FOR INSTANCE HAS FINALLY BEEN ALLOWED TO BREAK INTO TWO – BUT EVEN SO IT IS TOO LARGE TO BE GOVERNED OUT OF ARAB KHARTOUM. CONGO IS JUST AS BAD AND HIDING BEHIND THE WORDS DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC IS NOT EVEN A FIG LEAF OVER ITS NAKEDNESS.

The New York Times Op-Ed Contributor

To Save Congo, Let It Fall Apart

J. PETER PHAM writes – Congo isn’t too big to fail; it’s too big to succeed. Rather than striving to hold it together, we should let it break up.

To Save Congo, Let It Fall Apart

By J. PETER PHAM
Published: November 30, 2012 – in print December 1, 2012

THE Democratic Republic of Congo, which erupted in violence again earlier this month, ought to be one of the richest countries in the world.
Its immense mineral reserves are currently valued by some estimates at more than $24 trillion and include 30 percent of the world’s diamond reserves; vast amounts of cobalt, copper and gold; and 70 percent of the world’s coltan, which is used in electronic devices. Yet the most recent edition of the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index ranked Congo last among the 187 countries and territories included in the survey.

Congo has been poorly governed throughout its post-colonial history, and is chronically prone to violence. What is the secret to stabilizing the resource-rich country?

Instead of prosperity, Congo’s mineral wealth has brought only an endless procession of unscrupulous rulers eager to exploit its riches, from King Leopold II of Belgium to Mobutu Sese Seko, who was allowed by the logic of the cold war to rule the same area as a private fief. And last year, the current president, Joseph Kabila, who inherited the job from his assassinated father more than a decade ago, awarded himself another five-year term in elections that were criticized by everyone from the European Union to the country’s Roman Catholic bishops.

If some enterprises, public or private, can be said to be “too big to fail,” Congo is the reverse: it is too big to succeed. It is an artificial entity whose constituent parts share the misfortune of having been seized by the explorer Henry Morton Stanley in the name of a rapacious 19th-century Belgian monarch. From the moment Congo was given independence in 1960, it was being torn apart by centrifugal forces, beginning with separatism in the mineral-rich southern province of Katanga.

The international community has repeatedly dodged this reality by opting for so-called peace deals with shelf lives barely longer than the news cycle. Rather than nation-building, what is needed to end Congo’s violence is the opposite: breaking up a chronically failed state into smaller organic units whose members share broad agreement or at least have common interests in personal and community security.

In recent weeks, a rebel group calling itself the March 23 Movement, or M23, has stormed through eastern Congo, scattering poorly trained units loyal to the government and reducing a huge United Nations peacekeeping force to a helpless bystander as M23 seized control of Goma, the capital of the resource-rich North Kivu province. The rebel advance rekindled fears of a renewal of the bloody 1998-2003 Second Congo War, which drew the armies of a host of African countries as well as countless local militias into what was aptly dubbed “Africa’s world war.”

The M23 rebels appear indistinguishable from the several dozen other armed groups lurking in or around Congo, but in many respects they are quite different. Many M23 members are veterans of an earlier insurgent group, the National Congress for the Defense of the People, known by the French acronym C.N.D.P., which consisted largely of ethnic Tutsi Congolese who had banded together to fight the former Hutu génocidaires who fled to Congo following the end of their killing spree in Rwanda in 1994.

In a peace deal that was reached nearly four years ago, the Kabila government promised to facilitate the return of more than 50,000 Congolese Tutsi refugees, to integrate C.N.D.P. fighters into the national army, and to share power with the group’s leaders. Mr. Kabila’s failure to honor these commitments led to the current M23 revolt.

A United Nations report has accused the Rwandan government of supporting M23. Although Rwanda has denied it, this may well be true, and it is perfectly understandable given that the M23 rebels are fighting former Hutu génocidaires who still dream of invading Rwanda and finishing what they started nearly two decades ago.

Others have dismissed the M23 leaders as “warlords.” But warlords, even if they do not acquire power through democratic means, tend to provide some sort of political framework, often based on kinship ties or ethnic solidarity, that is seen as legitimate. They also tend to provide some basic security — which is more than the questionably legitimate Kabila government in Kinshasa provides for most Congolese.

Whatever else Congo’s various armed groups may be, they are clearly viewed by large segments of some communities as de facto protectors — a point underscored by the several hundred government soldiers and police officers who recently defected to M23 and publicly swore allegiance to it after the fall of Goma.

If Congo were permitted to break up into smaller entities, the international community could devote its increasingly scarce resources to humanitarian relief and development, rather than trying, as the United Nations Security Council has pledged, to preserve the “sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity” of a fictional state that is of value only to the political elites who have clawed their way to the top in order to plunder Congo’s resources and fund the patronage networks that ensure that they will remain in power.

Despite its democratic misnomer, Mr. Kabila has repeatedly delayed holding local elections since 2005. For years, every last mayor, burgomeister and neighborhood chief in the entire country has been appointed by presidential decree.

Given the dysfunctional status quo and the terrible toll it has exacted in terms of lives and resources, the West should put aside ideological dogmatism in favor of statesmanlike pragmatism and acknowledge the reality that, at least in some extreme cases, the best way to break a cycle of violence is to break up an artificial country in crisis and give it back to its very real people.

J. Peter Pham is director of the Africa Center at the Atlantic Council.

——————————

Room for Debate

How to Stabilize Congo

Dire Scene in Congolese City as Rebels Prepare to Leave (December 1, 2012)

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 1st, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

UNITED NATIONS INFORMATION SERVICE VIENNA (UNIS)

UNIS/OUS/154
1 August 2012
Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella calls for economic diversification, sustainable industrial and agribusiness development in Africa.

KINSHASA/ VIENNA, 1 August (United Nations Industrial Development Organization) – The Director-General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) said today that agribusiness and agro-industries and economic diversification were key factors that would put Africa on the road to prosperity.

“Agriculture is the most important sector of the African economy and will have to be its driving engine out of poverty. It accounts for 65 per cent of the continent’s employment and 75 per cent of its domestic trade. Africa is also urbanizing at a fast rate. In order to turn bright prospects into employment opportunities for its young people, Africa needs to embrace economic diversification,” said Director-General Kandeh K. Yumkella.

He was a keynote speaker at the Africa Caucus Meeting in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo which brought together Africa’s finance ministers, central bank governors, and representatives of international development agencies and financial institutions. The other keynote speaker was Justin Lin, the former Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank, who is working with UNIDO for several weeks as a senior strategic adviser.

Yumkella also said it was necessary to boost agricultural productivity in the continent in order to achieve sustainable industrial and agribusiness development as a means of wealth and job creation.

During his two-day visit, Director-General Yumkella will have meetings with President Joseph Kabila, and Prime Minister Augustin Matata Ponyo Mapon.

“The transformation of agricultural raw materials into industrial products depends increasingly on the capacity of African entrepreneurs to participate and compete in global, regional and local value chains. Accordingly, African agribusiness value chains will have to adapt to changing market conditions, continuously improve efficiency and strive to meet consumer requirements in a competitive global trade system,” said Yumkella.

He added that “high performance agribusiness value chains need to be based on processes that guarantee the highest product quality in a challenging global marketplace. Africa needs new learning and innovation systems involving regional cooperation, new types of partnerships between farmers, sellers, investors and researchers, and the right incentives and public actions that crowd-in rather than crowd-out private investment”.

He urged African countries to strategically invest in transport infrastructure, access to energy and water, ICTs and management efficiency in order for agribusiness to thrive.

“Without decisive action towards economic diversification, improvements in agricultural productivity and increased resources, water and energy efficiency, the creation of ‘decent’ employment opportunities to address the fast growing population and urbanization trends will not be possible,” said Yumkella.

“A green industrial policy can put Africa on a virtuous growth path. Governments need to introduce mechanisms comprised of appropriate incentives, disincentives and regulations to attract investments in the desired manufacturing areas and in much needed economic and physical infrastructure.”

In 2012, in partnership with the Food and Agriculture Organization and the International Fund for Agricultural Development, UNIDO launched the Accelerated Agribusiness and Agro-industries Development Initiative, or 3ADI, to promote value addition to agricultural commodities, with the added value being realized in domestic markets and through global supply networks. The initiative is now operational in 12 countries, including Afghanistan, the Comoros Islands, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, Haiti, Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sierra Leone, Sudan and Tanzania.

The Africa Caucus Meeting was formed following the Monterrey Convention of 2002 in Mexico. It comprises of African member countries of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) seeking to engage other policy makers around the continent in addressing issues relating to Africa’s economic transformation.

Director-General Yumkella is co-editor of a recent UNIDO Publication, “Agribusiness for Africa’s Prosperity”.

Watch a video with Director-General Yumkella speaking about the new book:
www.youtube.com/user/UNIDObeta#p/u/6/C23tW_MjnFE

The book is available in English and French and can be downloaded here:
www.unido.org/index.php?id=1001692

To read the full speech by Director-General Yumkella, please go here:
www.unido.org/fileadmin/user_media/DG/2012-Kinshasa-AFRICAN%20CAUCUS%20MEETING%20Speech.pdf

* *** *For more information on UNIDO, please contact:

Mikhail Evstafyev - UNIDO Advocacy and Communications Coordinator
Telephone: (+43-1) 26026-5021
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-7329
Email:  M.Evstafyev@]unido.org

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on February 11th, 2012
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The May/June issue of the Austrian Business Magazine for Economy, Environment and Corporate Social Responsibility “corporAID” stayed that11% of total monetary transactions by African Governments vanish in dark alleys towards foreign banking deposits. The paper knows because much of the money ends up in Austrian Banks. Further – the article states that by 2006  $700 t0 $800 Billions nave vanished this way.

The article mentioned names:

Champion was Hosni Mubarak of Egypt who stashed away in his family foreign accounts during his 30 years of Government Service – a neat amount of $70 Billion.
He is followed by the Gaddafis of Libya who needed all of 42 years in order to stash away only $60 Billion.

The list of the first 10 highest  Kleptomaniac African Heads of State is rounded up in the following order:

#3  - Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe                 — $10  Billion.

#4  -  Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan                         –    $9 Billion

#5  -  Mobutu Sese Seko of the DR of Congo – $5 Billion

#6  -  Sani Abacha of Nigeria                                    - $5 Billion

#7  -  Zine Ben Ali of Tunesia                                   – $5 Billion

#8  -  Yoweri Museveni of Uganda                      - $4 Billion

#9  -  Charles Taylor of Liberia                             –  $3 Billion

#10 –  Omar Bongo of Gabon                                   –  $2 Billion

These evaluations are backed by the British All Party Parliamentary Group and by the Washington Global Financial Integrity GFI Group.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 6th, 2011
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

[gu-new] (20110606) Concept papers of GEWS/GUS projects for Bangladesh, DRC, Nigeria and Rwanda.

<<20110606>> Archived distributions can be retrieved at;
<tinyurl.com/2fzx23e> This archive includes a html version of this
list distribution and its MS/WORD version with its filename as
³year-month-date.doc.² You can also access all of its attachments, if any.

References:

> (a) Concept Paper to Create a South Asian Hub of Global Early Warning System
> and Global University System in Bangladesh (June 6, 2011)
tinyurl.com/4y2gz8t
>
> (b) Concept Paper to Create a Central African Hub of Global Early Warning
> System and Global University System in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) (May
> 9, 2011)
tinyurl.com/3tk9pvp
>
> (c) CLOUD COMPUTING SIMULATION CENTER FOR GLOBAL EARLY WARNING SYSTEM (GEWS)
> WITH GLOBAL UNIVERSITY SYSTEM (GUS) IN NIGERIA (May 14, 2011)
tinyurl.com/3l5b2dn
>
> (d) Concept Note: The Global Early Warning System (GEWS) with Global
> University System (GUS) In Rwanda (May 1, 2011)
tinyurl.com/3v6tta2

Dear E-Colleagues:

(1) I just came back from my very fruitful, two weeks trip to Japan.

(2) The References above are the concept papers of our GEWS/GUS projects in
Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Nigeria, and Rwanda.

I sincerely thank you for those people who contributed to produce those
excellent concept papers.

(3) We will then forge ahead to raise funds with those papers.

(4) Pls feel free to contact me if you have any comments and suggestions to
improve them, and of course, any ideas about possible funding sources.

Best, Tak

****************************************************************************
***
* Takeshi Utsumi, Ph.D., P.E., Chairman, GLOSAS/USA
*
* (GLObal Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A.)
*
* Laureate of Lord Perry Award for Excellence in Distance Education
*
* Founder and V.P. for Technology and Coordination of
*
*   Global University System (GUS)
*
* 43-23 Colden Street, #9L, Flushing, NY 11355-5913, U.S.A.
*
* Tel: 718-939-0928; Skype: utsumi
*
* Email: takutsumi0@gmail.com, Web: www.friends-partners.org/GLOSAS/
*
* U.S./IRS Employer ID: 11-2999676 <tinyurl.com/534gxc>
*
* New York State Tax Exempt ID: 217837 <tinyurl.com/47wqbo>
*
* Brief bio and photo: <tinyurl.com/6jljtrd>
*
* CV: <tinyurl.com/2esr94l>

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 27th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

Remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Austrian Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger at a Joint Press Availability at the United Nations.

QUESTION: Madam Secretary – can we ask you a question or two?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, let – I think both Michael and I have a short statement to make.

And first, let me thank the foreign minister for his crucial help in getting this event organized.  I believe very strongly that Austria’s leadership on behalf of this issue is essential because we need to form a strong global partnership to make clear that we are committed to bringing about peace, but in doing so, we want to empower women to not be victims, but agents of peace and ending conflict.

And I also want to wish Austria a very happy National Day.  I’m sorry that this Security Council meeting coincided with National Day and that the foreign minister had to be here, but from our perspective, we’re very glad he is, and his leadership and the excellent commitment that were – commitments that were made by the Austrian Government in the intervention by the foreign minister.  So I thank you very much for your leadership.

And I also want to say how pleased we are to have a strong, growing, even deeper relationship between the United States and Austria.  The foreign minister and I have worked closely together on several key issues, from the Balkans to Iran and so much else.  And we have a shared commitment to human rights and the rule of law and to nonproliferation.  And I am very grateful that I will be having a bilateral, thorough discussion with the foreign minister in Washington, D.C. on November 17th.

FOREIGN MINISTER SPINDELEGGER: Thank you very much, Madam Secretary, ladies and gentlemen.  For us, it’s a great pleasure to see how engaged Hillary Clinton is in this field – framework of 1325.  And this gives us hope and this inspires us to be more active in this way.  And of course, I think if you have a look, after all the events, we have to notice there is a lot of space for more engagement.  We have to double our efforts to make, for the future, a better world for women and, of course, if you have a more close look to all these areas of conflict, we should now have these indicators, these 26 indicators, that gives us more tools and more information about that – what we have to do in all these areas.

And I think it’s wonderful to cooperate.  Thank you very much for that.  And of course, as I said, we are now celebrating the 10th anniversary, but we also are celebrating the birthday of Hillary Clinton here today.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, dear.

FOREIGN MINISTER SPINDELEGGER: Twenty-fifth birthday.  (Laughter.)

SECRETARY CLINTON: Coincides with National Austria Day.  I’m very excited about that. (Laughter.)

FOREIGN MINISTER SPINDELEGGER: So it’s really a wonderful story and I would like to thank you also for this cooperation between the United States and Austria.  We are very much happy with that and we would like to continue it in the future.  Thank you very much.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you very much.

——-

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, you’ve talked very passionately about the women of Afghanistan and not leaving them behind.  I wonder if you had any comment on the comments by the president of Afghanistan, President Karzai, about the United States and it’s giving cash to him to run his office?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I do not.  I have a very strong opinion about the work that we’re doing, which I think is critical for our national security, the national security of Europe.  I work closely with our representatives in Afghanistan and with the Government of Afghanistan.  It’s a very challenging and quite complicated situation, but I think we’re making progress, and I am very, very pleased to have the opportunity to try to support the women of Afghanistan while we do so.

——-

QUESTION: Mrs. Secretary of State, the situation of women and also girls in many countries of the world, especially in Africa, but I would like to mention also Afghanistan, Iran, et cetera is very serious.  Do you really think that resolution discussed today can make a difference, can change something?  Or does this – it could be only done on the level of the government and the – on the politics?

SECRETARY CLINTON: I think it’s both.  I think in my own lifetime – since it is my birthday, I can look back on it and see so much progress that has occurred.  It has occurred both on the international level in beginning to look at women’s rights as human rights and to create coalitions around change on behalf of women, and of course, it’s happened in my own country.

So the progress that women have made in the last 50 years is remarkable when you consider it against the backdrop of the prior history of humanity.  But as Michael and I have said, there is still much more to be done.  And certainly, those of us who are fortunate enough to live in countries like the United States and Austria where there have been great advances on behalf of women’s rights and opportunities, I believe have an obligation to try to do more to help women and girls in countries where those rights and opportunities are not respected.

So yes, we’ve made progress and shining a bright light of international concern on these issues gives heart to women and men working on behalf of this cause all over the world and helps to move the progress, the trajectory, a little bit further along.  So it’s all worth doing.

——

QUESTION: Madam Secretary, you have mentioned the special and growing relationship with Austria, and could you be more specific what has brought about this renewed friendship with Austria?  And could you specify the areas of cooperation where the friendship with a small country like Austria could really make a difference?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, I can give you two examples based on my own experience with the foreign minister.  He and I spoke several times in depth on the necessity for sanctions on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.  He was very helpful in conveying the concerns not only of the United States but of the international community directly to representatives of the Iranian Government.  And certainly, with the IAEA headquartered in Vienna, I’ve spoken with the foreign minister on nonproliferation, which is a key goal of President Obama.  So those are two areas where Austria’s commitment and values, combined with its very strategic location, has been of benefit to our common cause.

Do you want to add anything to that, Michael?

FOREIGN MINISTER SPINDELEGGER: Yes, I think, of course, it was an area where we had to be in a close contact.  It was a very sensitive moment, I think.  And I only can give you back this was very good to have this close contact to inform each other what’s the next step forward, and I think we have reached a lot.  If you have looked today, maybe Iran is ready to come to the table back, this is one of the results of our (inaudible).

——-

QUESTION: You both mentioned Iran, though, and today the Iranians announced that they were going to restart refueling the reactor.  Is this something that –

SECRETARY CLINTON: But that – let’s not confuse – Iran is entitled to the peaceful use of civilian nuclear power.  They are not entitled to a nuclear weapons program.  What they are doing is starting a reactor that is, based on everything we know about it and everything that the Russians have informed us about it since they have worked with the Iranians over many years to build this reactor, strictly for peaceful purposes.  Our problem is not with their reactor at Bushehr.  Our problem is with their facilities at places like Natanz and their secret facility at Qom and other places where we believe they are conducting their weapons program.

So I know – I heard some of the news coverage that oh my goodness, the Iranians are starting the reactor.  That is not the issue.  They are entitled to peaceful civilian nuclear power.  They are not entitled to nuclear weapons.  There’s two different processes.  And so I’m glad you asked the question because I think it’s important to distinguish that.  And as Michael said, we’re hoping that the Iranians will come back to the table soon with the – what we call the P-5+1 or the E-3+3, headed by Cathy Ashton, to begin an in-depth negotiation over their nuclear arms program.

——————————–

Our own exclusive interview with Austrian Federal Minister for European and International Affair Mr. Michael Spindelegger, at the Austrian Consulate General in New York, during the reception on the occasion of the Austrian National Day 2010.

Q: Dear Minister, as the two years of Austria’s membership on the UN Security Council will end in two months, what could you tell me in a couple of sentences, for attribution, that were the main achievements of this membership from your point of view?
A: Specifically – our close relationship with the United States – I was just invited to Washington for November 17th for further policy discussions. Austria contributes to negotiations in South Europe – now with Serbia and Croatia- and on the Iran question.

Q: What will be the specifics?
A: In the Balkan it is the bringing in of Serbia and Croatia into the EU.

Q. On Iran is it about the sanctions, or a negotiated solution?
A. The Sanctions we have already, it is about the fact that Iran cannot go nuclear.

The reception was hosted by Consul General Mr. Ernst-Peter Brezovsky, and the Minister was accompanied by Austria’s Permanent REpresentative to the UN, Ambassador Thomas Mayr-Harting. Many Ambassadors from EU countries to the UN participated. The US flag was also displayed.

——————————–

The Security Council meeting was opened by the November UNSC President from Uganda with the initial presentations by:

- The UN Secretary-General Mr. Ban Ki-moon, by video from Southeast Asia where he went to attend the ASEAN Summit. The Deputy SG Ms. Dr. Asha-Rose Mgiro represented him at the UNSC. He remarked that 20 countries have adopted National Action Plans on Women’s participation in programs according to resolution 1325 (2000). The recent mass-rapes in Congo are just a reminder of what can go wromg.

- UN Under-Secretary-General for Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women Ms. Michelle Bachelet of Chile.

- The President of the UN Economic and Social Council Mr. Hamidon Ali of Malaysia.

- The Special Representative of the SG on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Ms. Margot Wallstrom of Sweden.

- Civil Society Advisory to the UN on Women, Peace and Security Ms. Thelma Awori. a a Liberian/Ugandan.

Followed by the Ministers of UNSC Member States in the following order: Austria, the US, Japan, and Mexico, Bosnia and Herzegovina, France, Turkey, Nigeria, UK, Brazil, Gabon, Lebanon, Russia, China, and the Chair – The First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for East African Community Affairs of Uganda.

These were followed by another 65 speakers from interested Nations that included Ministers Foreign Affairs (Sweden, Slovenia), Defense (Norway), of International Cooperation (Canada), of Equal Opportunity (Italy), of Equity, Human Rights and Integration (Ireland), of Gender and Development (Liberia), the Interior (Finland), Social Development (South Africa), to Tourism and Culture (The Gambia) – and so on – including the EU, the AU, the Red Cross.

——-

Mr. Spinelegger, in his opening presentation, pointed out that in adopting the 1325 (2000) resolution 10 years ago, the UNSC recognized the equal participation of women in all aspects of peace-building and security and the protection of women from all sexual and all other violence in post-conflict situations.He pointed out that the resolution is not yet fully implemented to make a difference in conflict and post-conflict situations. The Council has the tools needed to hold accountable the transgressors he said.

He further said that the Arria meeting of October 19, 2010, cochaired by Austria, Mexico and the UK provided further tools – quantitative and qualitative – to judge deteriorating situations.

Austria offered the Austrian Diplomatic Academy in 2011 for training purpose and the services of his predecessor in the Foreign Ministry – Ms. Ambassador Dr. Ursula Plassnik as a Special envoy for International women issues, and an International network to promote Female Leadership in Intercultural and interreligious Dialogue” that first met in June 201o.

——–

Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, used her speech at the UN to declare unequivocally that he United States will not support a peace in Afghanistan or any conflict zone that sacrifices women’s rights. Her speech was a no-nonsense presentation and stood out when compared to any of the other 80 speeches – most of them frankly useless me-toos! It was her speech that gave some justification to this UNSC exercise – something that we cannot overstate.

The Security Council presidential statement vowed life-less “enhanced” efforts to bring to justice those who attack women and girls and appealed for greater numbers of women peacekeepers in international forces and called, in UN fashion, a new review meeting in five years time, which brought a new rebuke from Clinton: “Well we had better have more to report and we had better have accomplished more between now and then, otherwise there will be those who lose faith in our international capacity to respond to such an overwhelming need,” she said.

Clinton  said the mass rape of hundreds of women in Democratic Republic of Congo earlier this year was a “tragic rebuke” of international efforts to help women caught in conflict zones.

Women’s involvement in peacemaking efforts is now a “necessary global security imperative,” the US Secretary of State told the UN Security Council.

Clinton — to many observers the world’s most powerful woman — highlighted US efforts to reinforce women’s representation in Afghanistan, where US-led international forces are battling the Taliban militia which repressed women when in power. “We believe the potential for sustainable peace will be subverted if women are silenced or marginalized,” Clinton said.



###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on September 10th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

{This just on the Congo Story – But What about Sudan/Darfur and the UN itself? What about the UN not being ready to tackle misdeeds by Sudan and ITS OWN PEACEKEEPING FORCES? What is the future of the UN itself under these circumstances? Can one show “understanding” in such cases?}

  • AFRICA NEWS
  • The Wall Street Journal, SEPTEMBER 8, 2010

 online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424…

U.N. Report Faults Peacekeepers.

By JOE LAURIA

UNITED NATIONS—A United Nations official told the Security Council on Tuesday that U.N. peacekeepers charged with protecting civilians failed to prevent armed rebels from raping 242 victims in several eastern Congo villages five weeks ago.

“While the primary responsibility for protection of civilians lies with the state, its national army and police force, clearly we have also failed,” said Atul Khare, deputy head of United Nations peacekeeping operations. “Our actions were not adequate, resulting in unacceptable brutalization of the population of the villages in the area.”

Mr. Khare briefed the council in a public session after a recent fact-finding mission to the region.

Marc Hoffer/AFP/Getty ImagesA soldier posted in the village of Luvungi on Sunday in northeastern Democratic Republic Congo that was attacked on July 30 by Hutu rebels. .

Mr. Khare said when he was in Congo investigating the 242 rapes, he came across evidence of 267 additional sexual attacks in villages in North and South Kivu provinces. Ten were committed by Congolese army soldiers and the rest by rebels, he said.

The U.N. peacekeeping force in Congo, known by its acronym Monusco, has drawn criticism from human-rights groups and some governments for its failure to respond sooner to the rapes, which were carried out from July 30 to Aug. 2 by two rebel groups in the villages in mineral-rich North Kivu province.

The 242 victims were primarily women, but included a handful of men and children, Mr. Khare said.

“I feel personally guilty for the people who have suffered … and I trust that all of us can do better next time,” he said.

To deter more attacks, Mr. Khare called for targeted sanctions against rebel leaders. Mr. Khare also said the terrain made travel and mobile communications difficult but recommended that the U.N. increase financing to build up a cellphone network so that peacekeepers can be warned early by locals of impending attacks. He said Monusco would begin conducting evening and night patrols.

Over the past decade, more than five million people have been killed and more than 200,000 women raped, during the war between rebel groups and the government in eastern Congo, according to the International Rescue Committee, a New York-based group. The rebels are largely financed by illegal mining and use rape to intimidate local populations, the U.N. says.

To protect civilians, the U.N. has deployed the largest peacekeeping force in its history to Congo. The force, which costs more than $1 billion a year,, comprisesing nearly 20,000 troops.

Eighty peacekeepers were deployed in a base about 20 miles from the scene of the rapes, patrolling an area of about 115 square miles. Mr. Khare said U.N. humanitarian officials in the area received unconfirmed reports of a rebel attack, including a rape, in the villages on July 30.

A Monusco patrol didn’t enter one of the villages until three days later, when mass rapes were under way. The troops spoke to the locals through an interpreter but departed after they saw no evidence of attacks and weren’t told of anything amiss, Mr. Khare said. Three days after the sexual attacks ended the peacekeepers received reports that 15 rape victims had sought medical attention.

Roger Meece, an American diplomat who heads the U.N. mission in Congo, told reporters two weeks ago he was unaware of the rapes until Aug. 12, a full week after peacekeepers learned of them.

Margot Wallström, the special U.N. representative on ending conflict-zone sexual violence, said she knew nothing about the attacks until reading about them in media reports on Aug. 21.

On Tuesday Ms. Wallström told the Security Council that women in the villages described being hunted down by half-a-dozen rebels and gang-raped in their homes. She said rebels searched for gold in the women’s genitals.

“The women of Congo are tired of wondering when their time will come to be robbed, tortured and raped,” Ms. Wallström said. Many had concluded that being gang-raped was “normal for a woman,” she said.

Write to Joe Lauria at newseditor@wsj.com

————————————————————————————————————————

For the full postings of the following – please go to www.InnerCityPress.com :

On Sudan, UN Ban Admits Limits on Peacekeepers, Gambari Summoned, Change Pledged.

In Darfur, As UN Is Blocked from Tabarat Killing Site, It Claims It Resists Sudan Restrictions.

In Central Asia, UN Office Ignores Human Rights While Presiding Over Car Bombs.

UNICEF Dodges Questions of Congo Mass Rape and Rwanda MDG Irony.

On Darfur, UN Admits 50 Dead in Tabarat, Khare Says Sudan Shouldn’t Restrict Movement
.

At UN, Council To Discuss Darfur, As UN Confirms It Awaited Approval Before Helping.

On Congo Rape Scandal, Khare Spins July 30 E-mail, Congo Army Rapes

At UN, Darfur Deaths Dismissed By Security Council Members, Inaction Like UNAMID.

After Darfur Killings, Calls for Gambari to Resign, No Responses, UN Speaks to Itself.

As Darfuris Lay Dying, UN Leak Shows Failure to Respond, Stonewalling, UNSC Soon?

Amid Death in Darfur, UN Silent, Awaiting Permission 15 Miles from Killing.

In Sudan, As Complaints of UN Inaction on Rights Mount, No Comment for 2 Days.

In Congo, July 30 UN E-mail Spoke of FDLR & Rape, 22 Rapes Reported to UN Aug 6.

On Congo Rapes, UN Admits 240 Victims, Dodges Meece Inaccuracies, Wallstrom Inaction.

In Sudan, UN Rebuffs Rights Complaints, Vets Statements With Bashir Government.

On Congo Rapes, UN Inaction & Dissembling Stretches to Wallstrom, Meece, Higher.

=====================================================

USUN PRESS RELEASE #173                                                                    September 7, 2010
AS DELIVERED

Remarks by Ambassador Susan E. Rice, U.S. Permanent Representative to the United Nations, on the situation in the Congo and Darfur, at a Security Council Stakeout, September 7, 2010

Ambassador Rice: I want to begin by thanking Assistant Secretary General Khare and SRSG Wallstrom for what was both in the chamber and in our consultations a very frank, comprehensive and we think illuminating briefing on the tragic events that transpired over the last several weeks in Eastern DRC.  The rapes, the sexual violence are outrageous and the United States and the Council have condemned them in the most forceful terms.  But today, we got additional information which shed more light on what transpired, how and why.  Many of the questions that we had been asked I feel have been well answered, and we had the opportunity in consultations to really delve into such issues as why was it that when the UN patrols went through the areas subsequently they were not informed of the rapes that had occurred by the villagers.  We were able to learn better about the communications infrastructure and what might be done to improve it.  We were able to understand better some of the delays in information flowing up the chain from the field all the way through to the Security Council.  It was a very helpful and constructive discussion.

At the United States’ request we will receive, in detail, the recommendations that were made in the open Council and any others that the Secretariat feels worthy of discussion and consideration with the Security Council.  We have asked for, and there will now be, a subsequent session of the Council in which we discuss these recommendations and the way forward, such that protection of civilians in Congo, and in particular protection of women and children against rape and sexual violence can be improved and enhanced in a sustainable way.  And we’ll also look at whether the lessons learned in Congo can be applied elsewhere where sexual violence and violence against civilians is of grave concern and where protection of civilians is core to the mandate of the United Nations.  So we look forward to pursuing this with vigor.  As Ambassador Apakan said, the Council is going to be very active in following this up in partnership with the Secretariat, and with MONUSCO officials on the ground.  From the United States’ point of view, we will take up the mantle of leadership, as we have to date, in this and other contexts, on ensuring that the perpetrators of the violence are held accountable, including through our efforts in the Sanctions Committee to add them to the lists that exist and to ensure that they are sanctioned.

Finally, I want to underscore an important point, that SRSG Wallstrom made.  And that is, it is absolutely right and appropriate and necessary for the United Nations to ask what went wrong, and to take responsibility for its failings, and all of us as member states in that process.  But the United Nations did not perpetrate these crimes.  The FDLR and the Mayi-Mayi did, and it is they who ought to be held accountable and responsible.  It is they who deserve the scrutiny and the spotlight of the international community, as well as those that are there to protect innocents.  And the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has its responsibilities, and I think as we heard, they have some distance still to go in meeting them.  So with that, I will take a few questions.

——
Reporter: Given what you’ve come to a better understanding of what happened, do you feel like there are any flaws in what the UN did that need to be corrected there, and secondly, some names came up in the briefing, and is there going to be anything targeted at them, I mean two or three commanders names came up, is there going to be something—request to take sanctions or actions against them.

Ambassador Rice: First of all absolutely, as we heard from the Secretariat, there were flaws and failings in the UN’s response, and I will leave it to Assistant Secretary General Khare to characterize those as he did in the full Council.  But there’s no doubt that things could have been done differently and better and the aim will be to ensure that this is done differently and better in the future.  With respect to the individuals named, obviously we have now information that we didn’t have previously as to who might be responsible for these atrocities and rapes.  That’s information that the United States will want to look into further and take seriously as we determine who are the appropriate individuals to be subject to potential sanctions.

——-
Reporter:
Ambassador Rice, there was—SRSG Wallstrom spoke of the systematic and organized approach to this rape, that it was organized by individuals—these people have been named.  How clear is it that there is some sort of strategy behind all of this?  It has been going on for quite awhile, what is the U.S. sense, what is your intelligence on this, what’s going on there?

Ambassador Rice: That is very difficult frankly, to state with certainty, we have nothing to suggest that there isn’t a systematic aspect to this, but I think that given the prevalence and the frequency of sexual violence as a tool of conflict throughout the Congo, we also have to assume that while some of it, and perhaps this set of instances is systematic, others just seem to be random and frightenly routine and perpetrated by various different parties of this conflict, obviously most egregiously and most frequently by the FDLR and the Mayi-Mayi and the like, but not exclusively. So, these are among the deeper questions that in our view still remain to be asked and answered. I felt today that we learned a lot more about what transpired and what particular instances that we were most concerned about of late and that the Council focused on, but the underlying causes and motivation is something that we all, I think, need to understand better, and we are grateful to SRSG Wallstrom for her efforts to investigate and illuminate that long term aspect of it and the Council will want to follow up and not only immediate mechanisms, to prevent violence and to protect civilians, but also to understand the root causes.

——
Reporter:
The, Mr. Khare mentioned at least 10 rapes by the FARDC, by the Congolese Army in (inaudible) and South Kivu, I wonder if that, since MONUSCO works with the Government, is it easier to make sure that these perpetrators are in fact prosecuted and what steps is the Council going to take? And also, we understand that France called for some kind of consultation at the end on Darfur and the killings. Can you say what information was transmitted and the what the US thinks of the events in Zalingei Camp and also in Jebel Marra where the janjaweed apparently killed 50 people over the weekend?

Ambassador Rice: Well, we just heard a brief summary of what information is available to the Secretariat on the violence that occurred over the last several days in Darfur. Obviously we are gravely concerned about it, we are awaiting further information and so there is still much that is unknown. I will let Assistant Secretary General Khare, since he is here, give you any more detail. With respect to the FARDC, this has been an issue that the Council has been seized with for years and during our visit to Congo in 2009 we, the Council and the United States and others, focused on particular commanders who have been identified as perpetrators of violence against civilians. And we have been pressing the Government of Congo to take them out of command and hold them accountable, with some mixed results. Some of the five have been removed, some of them held, some of them under house arrest, and others have escaped. Focusing on the FARDC is not new, and indeed the conditions that the Secretariat and the Security Council have put on cooperation by MONUSCO and previously MONUC with the FARDC are designed to ensure that any units that have engaged in violence against civilians are not the beneficiaries of support and cooperation from MONUSCO.

——
Reporter:
Bosco still a part of the government, of the Government? He was one of the names indicted by the ICC?

Ambassador: No, not to my knowledge.

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on August 25th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

from Kreisky Forum <kreiskyforum@kreisky.org>
date Wed, Aug 25, 2010
subject WOMEN CARRY THE BURDEN;

Mittwoch, 8. September 2010, 19.00 Uhr

im Rahmen der Reihe Talking for Peace. A Karl Kahane Lecture Series laden wir Sie sehr herzlich zu der

folgenden Veranstaltung ein:

Wednesday, September 8, 2010, 7.00 p.m.

WOMEN CARRY THE BURDEN CONFLICT PREVENTION AND CONFLICT RESOLUTION

Opening event in the framework of the 2010 International Meeting of National Committees for UNIFEM (Part of UN Women) presented by DER STANDARD

Welcome: Gabriele Heinisch-Hosek, Federal Minister for Women and Civil Service

Introduction to UN Resolution 1325: Maj. Gen. Johann Pucher, National Security Policy Director, Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports

Keynote: Inés Alberdi, Executive Director of UNIFEM (Part of UN Women)

Contributions:

Sonja Biserko, Helsinki Federation for Human Rights, Serbia

Taghreed El-Khodary, New York Times, Gaza

Liberata Mulamula, Executive Secretary, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Burundi

Anat Saragusti, Executive Director of Agenda, Israel

Moderator: Gudrun Harrer, Senior Editor, DER STANDARD

In cooperation with

the Austrian National Committee for UNIFEM (Part of UN Women)

and the support of the Federal Chancellery, the Federal Ministry for Women and Civil Service,
the Federal Ministry of Defence and Sports (Directorate for Security Policy,
and the Vienna Institute for International Dialogue and Cooperation.

Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue | Armbrustergasse 15 | 1190 Wien

Please register: Tel.: 3188260/20 | Fax: 318 82 60/10 | e-mail: einladung.kreiskyforum@kreisky.org

Melitta Campostrini
Bruno Kreisky Forum
for International Dialogue
Armbrustergasse 15
A-1190 Vienna

###

Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 28th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The following are examples from today’s publication of the UN’s best friend – the $1 Billion UN Foundation’s UN Wire.

I see [Saddam Hussein] like Nebuchadnezzar, the emperor of Mesopotamia — an utterly ruthless, brutal man who sat with a revolver in his pocket and could use it to shoot you.”
Former UN weapons inspector Hans Blix. Read the full story - www.nytimes.com/2010/07/28/world/…

Blix faults U.S., British over pre-Iraq war intel
Former United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission chief Hans Blix testified Monday at a British inquiry that British and American intelligence officials gave too much credence to assertions of Iraqi defectors on weapons of mass destruction ahead of the 2003 war. Blix said U.S. and British authorities ignored recommendations and findings from the commission and should have allowed more time for investigations. The Independent (London) (7/28) , The New York Times (free registration) (7/27)
 www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/pol…

 www.nytimes.com/2010/07/28/world/…

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U.S. audit blasts Iraq reconstruction funds process
An audit by the U.S. Special Investigator for Iraq Reconstruction reports that 95% of the $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil and gas funds earmarked by the U.S. Defense Department for reconstruction cannot be accounted for. The audit report indicates sloppy record keeping and a lack of clear process leaves the Defense Department unable to detail the use of funds. The Globe and Mail (Toronto)/The Associated Press (7/28)
 www.theglobeandmail.com/news/worl…

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Security Council mulls future of Darfur mission:
The security situation has deteriorated in Darfur and United Nations agencies are no longer able to gain access to many areas, the Security Council heard Tuesday. The council is expected to decide on an extension of a joint African Union-United Nations peacekeeping mission this week. CNN (7/28)
 edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/africa…

Kidnapped German, American aid workers in Darfur speak out:
Kidnappers in Darfur released two German aid workers Tuesday after more than a month in captivity. The two said they were well treated. Another kidnapped aid worker — an American woman — was able to speak with a journalist Tuesday and reported food, water and shelter to be scarce. The kidnappers have demanded ransom from the Sudanese government for her release. AlertNet.org (7/27) , AlertNet.org (7/27
 www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk…

 www.alertnet.org/thenews/newsdesk…

International terror networks taking root in DR Congo?
Intelligence analysts fear the conflict-ravaged Democratic Republic of Congo may have a new security concern to contend with — international terrorism. Ugandan investigators believe Congolese group ADF-NALU was involved in the July 11 Kampala bombings alongside al-Qaida-linked Al Shabaab militants from Somalia. Interviews with recent defectors have provided evidence of foreigners visiting ADF-NALU camps on the mountains of eastern DR Congo. The Christian Science Monitor/Africa Monitor blog (7/28
 www.csmonitor.com/World/Africa/Af…

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

For one thing, see there is a good South African Restaurant in Fort Greene, Brooklyn, and we go there for inspiration and nourishment from time to time. www.madibarestaurant.com/ info@madibarestaurant.com.
 politic365.com/2010/07/19/happy-b…

Based on the above – we write: Two freedom fighters I most admire, writes Noel Anderson, Professor at Brooklyn College, in the struggle for South African democracy are Oliver Tambo and Nelson Mandela. Law partners and comrades, both men helped to shape the direction of the country, with Mandela leading the struggle from within, while Tambo raised international consciousness and money while exiled abroad. Tambo is no longer with us, but Mandela keeps the best of that struggle alive, becoming the first truly democratically elected President of South Africa after decades of imprisonment, and continuing to serve as a moral symbol for African and world affairs.

Born 92 years ago on July 18th, 1918, into a royal family in the Transkei, Mandela has been at the center of not just South African but global freedom struggles. He was the head of the ANC youth league and became a founding member of Umkhonto we Sizwe (“Spear of the Nation”) the armed wing of the ANC, before being imprisoned for 27 years.

President Obama, in tribute to Mandela’s work, has called on all to engage in community service. (In effect this past weekend everyone of us was called to put aside 82 minutes of his time and dedicate those 82 minutes to the community.  The United Nations has also recognized his birthday as Nelson Mandela International Day by calling on November 10, 2009 to make the !8th of July The International Mandela Day – and this year – the July 18th 2010, was supposed to be The First International Mandela Day. But it fell on a Sunday and that is a no-no for the UN Free Birds that must keep the weekend in New York for free enjoyment – really – what other reason for spending the time in this hot city? So, the UN moved to celebrate the day, this year, on  Thursday night and Friday Morning – 15th and 16th of 2010.

Strange as it sounds, its important to recognize that “Madiba” (his term of endearment), the 92 year old grandfather, still has a revolutionary spirit and still… very much alive. The press tends to talk about him the past tense, as if he is long gone and only his legacy survives. Yes, health concerns has led him to retreat from a once rigorous travel schedule, and his chronological age puts him in the twilight of his life. But Mandela is  mentally very lucid, weighs in on global politics and still advises in the affairs of his philanthropic foundation. Further, despite the controversial painting of Mandela, depicting him as dead and being used for an autopsy by political leaders, he still speaks with leaders on pressing concerns, and remains loyal to those countries that supported the freedom struggle.  Happy Birthday, Madiba!

{Dr. Noel S. Anderson is Associate Professor of Political Science and Education at the City University of New York – Brooklyn College. His work focuses on urban politics, human development and education and comparative issues in public policy – U.S. and South Africa}.

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The celebration started on Thursday night 6:30 pm with a series of three talks and the screening of the documentary “MANDELA: Son of Africa, Father of a Nation, in the new ECOSOC Chamber in the UN temporary North Lawn building.

No one from the high flyers of the UN was there – their place taken by fill-ins, but luckily Jonathan Demme the director, and Peter Saraf, the co-producer of the film were there – so the aesthetics of their production could be brought up.

For the UN spoke Margaret Novicki and Nicholas Haysom.

Margaret Novicki was appointed by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan  as the Director of the United Nations Information Centre in Pretoria, South Africa.  Ms. Novicki, a national of the United States, brings to this post extensive experience in communications, media relations and journalism, much of it acquired in Africa. Prior to Pretoria she worked for the UN in Accra. She chaired the evening. She spoke on behalf  of the UN USG for UNDPI – Mr. Kiyotaka Akasaka.
Why DPI? Why not the Secretary General himself?

Nicholas Haysom, as an attorney of the South African High Court, he litigated in high-profile human rights cases between 1981 and 1993.  He acted as a professional mediator in labour and community conflicts in South Africa between 1985 and 1993, and has advised on civil conflicts in Africa and Asia since 1998. Founding partner and senior lawyer at the human rights law firm of Cheadle Thompson and Haysom Attorneys, and an Associate Professor of Law and Deputy Director at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies at Wits University in South Africa until May 1994, when he was appointed Legal Adviser to President Mandela.

Mr. Haysom was closely involved in the constitutional negotiations leading up to the interim and final Constitutions in South Africa.  He served as Chief Legal Adviser throughout Mr. Mandela’s presidency, and continued to work with Mr. Mandela on his private peace initiatives up to 2002.

Since leaving the office of the President upon Nelson Mandela’s retirement in 1999, Mr. Haysom has been involved in the Burundi Peace Talks as the Chairman of the committee negotiating constitutional issues (1999–2002). He continued to serve on the implementation committee of the Burundi Peace Accord after 2002.

Incoming UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Professor Nicholas Haysom of South Africa as Director for Political Affairs in his Executive Office, May 16, 2007. Our friend Matthew Russell Lee complained that he is never seen at the UN – but in a careful reading of the article we find there the concept of preventive diplomacy – we wish had more credence at the UN.  “He said there is a resistance to preventive diplomacy among member states, leading to the blocking of reform and regional offices of the Department of Political Affairs — he ascribed the most strenuous opposition to Latin America — and to resistance to the Responsibility to Protect doctrine and Ed Luck’s appointment as special advisor on the topic.” In short – he actually seems to be well ahead of the UN but not really of the UN – where he finds it difficult to execute policy that is factually set by only the Permant Five of the Veto Power.

What we said above was that both speakers for the UN are somehow South Africa based and not UN based.

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela (Xhosa pronunciation: [xo?li?a?a man?de?la]; born in a Xhosa home in Qunu, Transkei,where his father, the Town Counselor, had 4 wives and the boys lived in a separate home from the parents. Chief Jogintamba saw his potential and sent him to the Clakebury Boarding School. In 1933, at 15, he got involved in the Walter Sisulu led ANC and when he reached 30 years, that is when coincidentally Prime Minister Hendrik Verwoerd’s contribution to Afrikanerdom was to dress up apartheid and make it appear respectable to his followers, and the Mandela & Tambo law-firm took on the anti-apartheid legal defense.

In 1956 Mandela prepared the Freedom Charter and the people declared – “We Stand by Our Leader.” Then in 1960 happened the Sharpeville masacre and the call changed to: “Freedom in Our Time” and Wolfie Kadesh, a white man, was an activist. In 1962 Mandela went underground and George Bizios, also a white man, was his lawyer. Eventually, Mandela was apprehended and was in jail 1961 – 1988. Gowan Mbeki was imprisoned for 25 years. In August 1989 Botha resigns and De Klerk takes over and leeds the negotiations with Mandela. November 1993 both of them get the Nobel Prize. Friday, 10 Dec 1993 was Mandela’s speech in Oslo. www.africa.upenn.edu/Articles_Gen…

Fully representative Democratic elections took place on 27 April 1994, and Mandela served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

Before his presidency, Mandela was an anti-apartheid activist. We saw how he got there from his village roots and we learned about the 27 years he spent as a FREE MAN behind bars – freer in his spirit then his captors that knew that they were the captives in the hands of the true Free World. Yes – those years – post World War II – when the UN was young and small – the World had hope for a future that will be very different from the way history evolved prior to those days. Today we can say that the hope tuned out to be pre-mature and Nelson Mandela who moved with his times forged an image for the World well ahead of his time. But no despair, his personal example moved at Least South Africa to ending its internal conflict even though many other conflicts in the World continue to rage on.

Mandela, son of Africa and Father of the New South Africa, depicted in advertisement as a barefoot young boy in what looks like a general’s coat, armed with a stick, said that his watchwords were TRUTH & FREEDOM.

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From the screening event at the UN I hurried down to the Manhattan Village – to TEATROIATI at 64 East 4th Street (between Bowery and 2nd Av,) where Sabrina Lastman of Uruguay was having a showing of her CANDOMBE JAZZ PROJECT – mixture oral tradition AFRO-URUGUAYAN MUSIC with elements of Jazz. I bring this in here because in many ways it was befitting the Mandela event.

In the Mandela documentary we saw much of the peoples culture of the Indigenous Africans of the original South Africa, and somehow it must have been quite similar to what Africans, probably from the Congo region, brought with them to what are now Uruguay and Argentina. The fact that this music has survived, and in effect has now a revival, are signs of its resilience, but also of the influence Mandela’s achievements had world-wide.

The Candombe Jazz Project is a New York City-based ensemble playing Candombe, the Afro Uruguayan music tradition. CJP presents an exciting concert of original compositions by Sabrina Lastman & Beledo, arrangement of oral tradition songs, & songs by renown Uruguayan songwriters.

Candombe Jazz Project includes:
Sabrina Lastman – voice / compositions
Beledo – guitar / keyboard / compositions
Arturo Prendez – candombe drum / percussions
Special guests: Agrupación Lubola Macú

——————–

“PEACE IS NOT THE ABSENCE OF CONFLICT – IT IS THE CREATION OF AN ENVIRONMENT WHERE ALL CAN FLOURISH,” Mandela said. He also wanted to see the emancipation of women – not just the races. These are things the UN must write on its flag – does it?

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On Friday was the Official Commemorative Ceremony, in the big General Assembly Hall, that started with the usual UN delay at 10:20 am., with many Missions to the UN having one warm body sitting in their row – only South Africa, headed by a Minister, having all six seats, and some more, occupied. This was a Special Plenary, ahead of the regular daily Plenary.

The UN had the event open to outsiders, and that was nice. The problem that there were not many insiders present.

The President of the General Assembly, the former Libyan Foreign Minister Mr. Ali Abdussalam Treki, who is under a Schengen Travel Ban,  was not there, and that was good. Instead was one of his seconds, but the Press kit just goes ahead selling him to the innocents. We do not even know the name of the nice lady that chaired the meeting she defined as an “INFORMAL Meeting” of the GA.

“IT IS IN OUR HANDS TO CREATE A BETTER WORLD” said Mandela – God bless him and save the GA.

That was followed by a video message from the UN Secretary General Mr Ban Ki-moon, who said that Mandela’s greatness came from: “HE FOUGHT HIS OPRESSORS FOR YEARS AND THEN FORGAVE THEM. – HE CONSTANTLY REMINDS US HE IS AN ORDINARY MAN, BUT HE ACHIEVED UNORDINARY THINGS.”

—————–

This was followed by The Minister of International Relations and Commonwealth Relations of South Africa, Ms. Maite Nkoana-Mashbane, who said that in October 1994 he helped Free South Africa.

She continued saying that in the next two days – to July 18th, people of the globe will get together to hear the words that inspired us in South Africa. She thanks in the name of President Jacob Zuma for adopting in November 2009 this resolution to have the International Mandela Day started this year. South Africa and the World are fortunate to have had a man as Nelson Mandela. She added that the UN was all the way on “Our” side in our fight against Apartheid. We owe our freedom to the role of this august house. By celebrating Mandela Day we celebrate the best for what the UN was created. UBUNTU – we believ in ourselves for what we are.

Her words were followed by a video, and we saw February 19, 1994 people of all South Africa standing peacefully in line and giving their vote.

The Minister’s presentation was clearly the highlight of the informal ceremonial, that was then followed  {informally?} by one representative from each one of UN’s major group.

—————-

This was a sad succession of obligatory diplomatic bows with some sparks of freshness.

Egypt spoke on behalf of the Non-aligned Movement – the enigma of the UN,

The Republic of Congo on behalf of the African States, spoke of the recent World Cup,

Darussalam on behalf of the Asian States, this is the Brunei Darussalam State, that clearly needs still its own liberation,

Belarus on behalf of the East European States, spoke interestingly of a long walk to Freedom,

Saint Lucia on behalf of the Group of Latin & Caribbean States, who in our opinion was the best speech  we called the Mission and asked for the speech. We attach the full speech to the end of our posting. The Afro-Caribbean Ambassador, surely descendant of slaves, H.E. Donatus Keith St Aimee, in obvious heart felt fashion said that “Few persons whose name resonate with approval on all continents – All our efforts at the UN came to essence in his life.”

Belgium on behalf of the Western European and Other States, but was mis-introduced by the Chair as speaking for the EU as temporary President of the EU. The main point was that “Let us remind ourselves that our work is far from complete – our work is for freedom or all.”

The last speaker was for the host country – the USA. who said that Apartheid was twisted and grotesque in its effort to justify oppression. Mandela overthrew apartheid by force of example.

———————————-
STATEMENT BY H. E. DONATUS ST AIMEE.

PERMANENT REPRESENTAIVE OF SAINT LUCIA TO THE UNITED NATIONS
ON BEHALF OF THE GROUP OF LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN STATES (GRULAC).

ON THE OCCASION OF THE OBSERVANCE OF NELSON MANDELA INTERNATIONAL DAY.

FRIDAY JULY 16TH, 2010

Mr. Chairman, I am honored to speak on behalf of Member states comprising the Group of Latin America and the Caribbean (GRULAC), as we show our respect and admiration for an icon of the ages.

In the annals of recorded history there are few individuals whose names resonate with esteem and are uttered with deference on all continents and in all societies.  There are few lives that are unequivocally admired or unreservedly revered by all races and ethnicities; and there are few persons who in a more emotional sense, are cherished and held dear by such a large segment of humanity. Like all celebrated and remarkable men or women, this person whom we come to honor today is identified internationally with one single name befitting his role in our global society and that name is – MANDELA.

We are here today to honor Nelson Mandela pursuant to the adoption of Resolution A/64/L.13. We are here today to commemorate a man who in a lifetime of dignity has come to represent the very ideal for which we struggle daily in the United Nations. All our words, all our actions, all our individual and collective efforts aim in their sum total to equal what is represented by the life of Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela became an international symbol because of his struggle against oppression generally and apartheid in South Africa in particular. We know his history:

· From the early nineteen forties he was a leader of one of the most significant non-violent movements in history.
· For 27 years he was imprisoned under brutal conditions even as he heard of the death beyond his prison walls, of his brothers and sisters in the struggle against apartheid. How many times he must have wondered when his time would be coming to also face death at the hands of his captors.
· Finally he was released on 11th February, 1990.
· To understand the magnitude of his suffering and indignity of his incarceration, we must comprehend that he entered prison at the age of 45 and left at age 72.

These facts as we know them only scratch the surface of the beauty that is the life of Nelson Mandela. What was it that resulted in Nelson Mandela receiving more than 250 awards over four decades including the 1993 Nobel Peace Prize? It was not his physical incarceration that captured the imagination of people, it was not the brutality of apartheid nor the interest of so many supporters the world over to stop this aberration.

What captured our imagination was that Nelson Mandela’s indomitable spirit, his humanity, his humility and his vast love of his people could not be imprisoned in any way by iron, concrete or barbed wire. He went into prison in 1963 as an unbowed, proud, determined South African fighter and came out in 1990 as an unbowed, proud, determined 20th Century leader and icon.

As Mandela himself put in words:

“I cherish my own freedom dearly, but I care even more for your freedom… I cannot sell my birthright, nor am I am prepared to sell the birthright of the people to be free…”

Mandela turned down freedom at an earlier date because he insisted that it had to be unconditional and as President from 1994 to 1999, he frequently gave priority to reconciliation in order to harness all the resources of South Africa to lift the economic conditions of his people. His spirit of forgiveness, his turning of the other cheek has ensured that South Africa joined as an equal partner in the nations of this world, so that within the past month we have all had the great joy of watching South Africa host the World Cup in splendid and successful fashion.

How important it is that the Member States of the United Nations saw it fitting to adopt a Resolution to commemorate Nelson Mandela International Day, an annual event which the world would observe, now for the first time on the occasion of his 92nd Birthday, and for years to come.

We the Member States of GRULAC, have experienced in similar forms many of the travails experienced by South Africa and personified in the life of Nelson Mandela. Our region has had its own icons, and we remember their considerable contributions to the development of our nations when we pause here to honor the life of Mandela.  For this reason his life, his response to adversity, his humanity, resonates not just in our minds for the success of his mission but in our hearts for the beacon he has become for all peoples suffering repression.

What this man said was merely a punctuation for what he did, and what he did is being recognized today in this august forum so that present and future generations need not wonder as to the path to success in nation building, but merely need to follow the footsteps of this great man.

He truly is an ordinary man who has behaved in an extraordinary way!

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 19th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

RECEIVED FROM: Editeur : RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables
www.riaed.net/portail

from RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables
reply-to dufail@gret.org
date Mon, Jul 19, 2010
subject: La lettre d’information du RIAED, n°41

THIS IS THE INFORMATION No. 41 from RIAED WHICH IS THE INTERNATIONAL NETWORK FOR ACCESS TO SUSTAINABLE ENERGY FOR THE FRENCH SPEAKING COUNTRIES OF WEST AFRICA, BUT THEY HAVE ALSO A LINK TO THE ENGLISH FORM OF THIS LETTER. THE POSTING IS INTERESTING AS IT SHOWS LOTS OF ACTIVITIES THAT GO ON IN THE REGION SINCE 2006 AND CONTINUE TO DATE.

Voici la lettre d’information du site RIAED | Réseau international d’accès aux énergies durables.

A la Une

Un inventaire des opportunités de réduction d’émissions de GES en Afrique subsaharienne

Un rapport de la Banque mondiale détaille, sur 44 pays d’Afrique subsaharienne, les opportunités de réduction d’émissions de gaz à effet de serre dans 22 domaines. Au travers de l’approche MDP, cette étude a pour objectif d’explorer le potentiel offert par les projets énergétiques à faible contenu en carbone qui peuvent contribuer au développement de l’Afrique subsaharienne. Dans ce but, l’équipe de réalisation de l’étude a identifié les technologies pour lesquelles il existe déjà des méthodologies MDP et qui ont déjà donné lieu à projets MDP dans d’autres régions en voie de développement.

Actualités

Liberia : deux firmes américaines financent la construction d’une centrale hydroélectrique Les firmes Buchanan Renewable Energies (BRE) et Overseas Private Investment Company (OPIC) basées aux États-Unis, ont déboursé 150 millions de dollars pour la construction d’une centrale hydro-électrique à Kakata, dans la région de Margibi (environ 45 kilomètres de la capitale Monrovia).

Maroc : lancement du plus grand parc éolien en Afrique Le Maroc a lancé le 28 juin 2010, au nord du pays, le plus grand parc éolien en Afrique, pour une enveloppe de 2,75 milliards de dirhams (400 millions de dollars) soit une des étapes – clés du Programme marocain intégré de l’énergie éolienne, qui table sur un investissement d’environ 31,5 milliards de dirhams (4 milliards de dollars).

Cap Vert : la CEDEAO ouvre un centre des énergies renouvelables La Communauté économique des États de l’Afrique d l’Ouest (CEDEAO) a ouvert un nouveau centre pour les énergies renouvelable (ECREEE) aux Iles du Cap Vert pour développer le potentiel de la région en énergies renouvelables.

Côte d’Ivoire : l’état relance le barrage de Soubré Dans le cadre des mesures annoncées pour palier aux difficultés dans le secteur de l’énergie électrique, l’état ivoirien va relancer le projet de construction du barrage hydroélectrique de Soubré.

Malawi : un projet de biogaz mène à d’autres services Une unité de production de biogaz de petite échelle au Malawi, récemment créée dans le but d’atténuer le changement climatique, peut également, si elle est bien exploitée, améliorer la sécurité alimentaire et les moyens de subsistance dans les régions rurales du Malawi.

Afrique sub-saharienne : les meilleurs produits d’éclairage hors réseau gagnent le soutien de Lighting AfricaCinq produits innovants ont été sélectionnés lors de la conférence de Lighting Africa et du commerce équitable à Nairobi en mai dernier.

Bénin : projet d’amélioration de l’acccès à l’énergie moderne Le Gouvernement de la République du Bénin a obtenu un crédit auprès de l’Association Internationale de Développement (IDA) d’un montant équivalant à quarante sept millions cinq cent mille Droits de Tirages Spéciaux (47 500 000 DTS) soit soixante dix millions de dollars US (70 000 000 USD) pour financer le Projet de Développement de l’Accès à l’énergie Moderne (DAEM).

Afrique de l’Est : Les micro-entrepreneurs font leurs entrées dans le marché de l’énergie, à temps pour la coupe du monde Un groupe de 20 micro-entrepreneurs originaires de Ranen, un marché local de l’ouest de Kenya, sont les premiers entrepreneurs DEEP formés et mis en relation avec les institutions financières pour obtenir des facilités de crédits et développer leurs affaires dans le secteur énergétique.

L’Égypte compte ouvrir sa première centrale à énergie solaire fin 2010 L’Égypte compte mettre en service sa première centrale électrique à énergie solaire d’ici la fin de l’année 2010, a indiqué lundi 14 juin 2010 le ministère égyptien de l’Énergie.

Accord entre le Pool d’énergie ouest-africain et la BEI Le président de la BEI (Banque Européenne d’Investissement) se félicite de la seconde révision de l’Accord de Cotonou et signe avec le Pool d’énergie ouest-africain un accord d’assistance technique en faveur d’un projet dans le secteur libérien de l’énergie.

Colloques, conférences, rencontres, forum…

France : Forum EURAFRIC 2010 La 10ème édition du Forum EURAFRIC « Eau et Énergie en Afrique » se tiendra du 18 au 21 octobre 2010 au Centre des Congrès de Lyon (France).(29/06/2010)

Sénégal : salon ENERBATIM 2011 La deuxième édition du Salon International des Energies Renouvelables et du Bâtiment ENERBATIM en Afrique se tiendra du 6 au 9 avril 2011 au CICES (Dakar).

Tunisie : Congrès international sur les Énergies Renouvelables et l’Environnement Ce congrès aura lieu du 4 au 6 novembre 2010 à Sousse (Tunisie).

Algérie : salon international des énergies renouvelables ERA 2010 Le Salon international des énergies renouvelables, des énergies propres et du développement durable, se tiendra les 19, 20 et 21 octobre 2010 à Tamanrasset (Algérie).

Afrique du Sud : forum Hydropower Africa 2010 Ce forum sur l’hydroélectricité en Afrique aura lieu du 16 au 20 août 2010 à Johannesburg (Afrique du Sud)

Ressources

Derniers documents (études, applications…) proposés en libre téléchargement :

La revue de Proparco – n°6 – mai 2010 Cette revue bimestrielle n°6 de Proparco (groupe AFD) a pour thème : « Capital-investissement et énergies propres : catalyser les financements dans les pays émergents »

Les petits systèmes PV font la différence dans les pays en développement La coopération technique allemande (GTZ), a publié une étude qui fait le point sur l’impact des petites installations photovoltaïques sur le processus d’électrification rurale hors réseau, dans les pays en développement.

L’électricité au cœur des défis africains Manuel sur l’électrification en Afrique – Auteur Christine Heuraux

Interactions bioénergie et sécurité alimentaire Ce document de la FAO fournit un cadre quantitatif et qualitatif pour analyser l’interaction entre la bioénergie et la sécurité alimentaire.

Blogues du Riaed

Petit site dédié à un projet, une rencontre, une institution… Vous pouvez présenter vos connaissances et proposer des ressources en libre téléchargement.

Accès aux blogues hébergés par le Riaed : www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique41

Annuaire du Riaed

Inscrivez vous en qualité d’expert, ou inscrivez votre entreprise / institution / projet, etc. dans l’annuaire du Riaed pour être facilement identifiable et joignable. Vous le ferez en ligne, en quelques minutes, à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?breve6. Vous pouvez aussi le faire en adhérant au réseau du Riaed, en qualité de membre, à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?breve11 et en précisant à la fin votre souhait d’être aussi présenté publiquement dans l’annuaire (cocher la case ad hoc).

ASAPE ASAPE ou Association de solidarité et d’appui pour l’environnement

Burkina énergies et technologies appropriées (BETA) BETA est une entreprise solidaire qui a fait le choix de s’investir dans la promotion de l’accès à l’énergie en milieu rural.

Opportunités de financement de projets

EuropeAid – Facilité Énergie n°39 – Newsletter de juin 2010 Ce numéro de la lettre de la Facilité Énergie de la Commission Européenne nous fournit les statistiques sur l’évaluation des notes succinctes.

Formation, stages, partenariat, bourse d’échanges

Maroc : formation continue « La pérennisation des systèmes énergétiques décentralisés » L’objectif de cette session est la formation d’un groupe de techniciens impliqués dans les aspects techniques et socio-économiques de l’introduction de l’énergie solaire photovoltaïque dans l’électrification des zones rurales et isolées.

Burkina Faso : formation continue « Développer son expertise pour économiser l’énergie dans les bâtiments climatisés » L’IEPF et 2iE ont développé une formule qui comprend non seulement la formation proprement dite, mais également le suivi des bénéficiaires de cette formation (en particulier les entreprises industrielles), avec un engagement de leur part à mettre en oeuvre les recommandations des audits, en finançant tout ou partie des coûts.

Sites francophones sur l’énergie

Une liste de sites francophones et de réseaux sur l’énergie est proposée à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique=34

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(Autres liens et réseaux)

THAT IS – THE SIMILAR TEXT IN ENGLISH FROM THE FRENCH SPEAKING COUNTRIES OF AFRICA SEEMS TO BE AVAILABLE AT:

Une liste de sites anglophones et de réseaux internationaux sur l’énergie est proposée à la page www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique=35

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THE BLOGGS LINK IS THE FOLLOWING BUT IT SEEMS  OLD: www.riaed.net/spip.php?rubrique41

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on June 29th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

TUESDAY, JUNE 29, 2010
 ipsterraviva.net/UN/currentNew.as…

Q&A: “There Is Almost Total Impunity for Rape in Congo”
Jennie Lorentsson of IPS/TerraViva interviews MARGOT WALLSTRÃ-M, Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict.

UNITED NATIONS, Jun 28 (IPS) – Sexual violence against women has become part of modern warfare around the world. In some countries, women cannot even go out to draw water without fear of being attacked and raped.

On Apr. 1, Margot Wallström became the Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict for U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Her job is to investigate abuses and make recommendations to the Security Council. The appointment of Wallstrom, currently a vice president of the European Commission, comes amidst continued reports of gender violence, including rape and sexual abuse both locally and by humanitarian aid workers and U.N. peacekeepers, mostly in war zones and in post-conflict societies.

The incidents of sexual attacks, both on women and children, have come from several countries, including Cote d’Ivoire, Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Haiti, Burundi, Guinea and Liberia. One of Wallstrom’s first assignments was a trip to the DRC, a nation she calls “the rape capital” of the world. Excerpts from the interview with Wallström follow.

Q: Tell us about your trip.

A: Congo has attracted attention in the media [as a place that is suffering] systematic rape in war. One statistic quoted is 200,000 rapes since the beginning of the war 14 years ago, and it is certainly an underestimate.

When in Congo, I met government representatives and particularly women who had been raped and violated. It was interesting but also disappointing – nothing is getting better and more and more civilians are committing rapes.

But I should be fair and say that there has been progress, the government has introduced laws against rape, it has a national plan and there is political will. There is a lot to do to implement the legislation, but now there is an ambitious legal ground to stand on to be implemented by the police, judiciary and health care.

Q: What are the roots of the problem?

A: The sexual violence in Congo is the result of the war between the many armed groups. To put women in the front line has become a part of modern warfare.

Men often feel threatened in times of conflict and stay inside, but the women have to go out and get water and firewood and go to the fields to find food. In many cases they’ll be the first to be attacked. Especially if there is no paid national army that can protect civilians, rape is a part of the looting and crimes against the innocent. In addition, there is almost total impunity for rape in the Congo.

Q: The U.N. has its own force, MONUC, in Congo to protect civilians. What is being done to help women?

A: MONUC has had to adjust their operations after the conditions in the country. For example, MONUC has special patrols which escort women to health care clinics and markets.

Q: The U.N. and the Congolese government are discussing when the U.N. should leave the country. What would happen if the U.N. left the Congo now?

A: We have reason to be worried if the United Nations would leave the Congo. It is still unsettled in some parts of the country and the U.N. provides logistics for many of the NGOs operating in the country, and they rely in the U.N.

What is happening right now is that [the government] wants to show that it can protect the country itself – it’s a part of the debate on independence.

Q: How do feel when you hear about U.N. peacekeepers committing atrocities?

A: Just one example is too much. It destroys our confidence in the U.N.’s ability to do great things.

Q: There is criticism that the U.N. is a bureaucratic and inflexible organisation. Do you agree?

A: In every large organisation there is critisism like this. After 10 years in the European Commission, I can recognise such trends here, there is always. But basically, there are high hopes and great confidence in the U.N. and the energy and passion that exists for the U.N. is very useful.

Q: The Security Council has promised to focus even more on the issue of violence against women. Which countries should be focused on?

A: Congo is a given, also Darfur and a number of other countries in Africa. We will also focus on Liberia, where it is more a post-conflict society which has been brutalised and where rape is the most common offence. We cannot be in all countries with conflicts, we will comply with the Security Council agenda. This is a problem that not only exists in Africa.

Q: What can your staff do on site?

A: Our team of legal experts can help a country to establish a modern legislation. Impunity is the foundation of the problem, the women have to go with guilt and the men go free. We must try to understand how such a culture is created and how it can be a method of warfare. Then we can stop it.

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on May 28th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

The interesting day was organized by an active excellent Media Relations Officer of the New York office of the US Department of State – Ms. Melissa Waheibi. She worked this out with the UN MALU (Media Accreditation and Liaison Unit) as we had to get a Temporary Media Pass to the UN.

Our UN hostess was Ms. Robin Dellarocca an Information Officer with the Department of Public Information (DPI), Strategic Communications Division, who was with us at the beginning and at the end of the day, as well as at that Noon Briefing. Most of the day we were accompanied by Ms. Isabelle Broyer, who is the new Chief of MALU within the UN DPI. She was previously Chief of Guided Tours Section in the UN Outreach that also belongs under the DPI, and she was very gracious and started the day by giving us the tour of the old UN – that is the tall building that blocks for the Manhattanites the view to the East River. The problem is that this building is being mothballed for a while because of the need to remove plenty of asbestos that was put into its construction back in the years  1949-1950  when the real estate firm of Wallace Harrison, the personal architectural adviser for the Rockefeller family, was the lead architect for the building. The final project derived from the drawings of Oscar Niemeyer and Le Corbusier. Now, a so called temporary North Lawn building (TNLB), was created this year, and for all practical purposes the UN has changed a lot. We did not go to that building.

Our group numbered 11 people. Seven that had no UN Press Credentials, including our leader from the Foreign Press Center, New York, and four who were actually accredited journalists with the UN DPI. Our Event was called a “United Nations Seminar For Foreign Journalists.” These people come from all over the world and report about the US which in most cases, at least for those stationed in new York, includes interest in the UN. Many do not have a UN accreditation because of the difficult process of getting one, in a few cases their beet does not include the UN – they were all clearly eager to learn more about the UN. The fact that some UN Press-Card holders were also on the tour is a result from the simple reality that the UN DPI does not have such introductory tours for its own newly accredited correspondents – and those that participated in the Seminar were clearly interested in getting some minimal insight into the general workings of the UN. After all – not all journalists covering the UN believe that rewriting UN Press Releases is called journalism.

Eventually we settled around a large table in the office the DPI has for its liaison to the NGOs accredited with DPI, and later, when that room was no more available, we moved next door to class-room setting, and speakers from various departments from the UN and from some affiliates came to tell us about their ongoing activities.

Our morning covered three activities beyond the introductory welcome-tour: The Office for the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA); The Acting Chief, UN Resources – Promotion and Distribution Unit, UN Multimedia of DPI; and the Noon Briefing.

Our afternoon covered four sessions and closing:  The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Human Rights Deputy Director;  The Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO); The Chief of External Communications at the United Nations Development Programme who was specific on the Millennium Development Goals; and The Chief of the Security Council Secretariat Branch that introduced us to the work of the UN Security Council.

So what about the Noon Briefing?

Combining my notes with the official transcript

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

From the Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General, May 25, 2010.

Today’s noon briefing was by Martin Nesirky, Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.

Good afternoon everybody.

I understand we have a number of international journalists joining us today from the New York Foreign Press Centre.  So, welcome to you and welcome to everybody else at the briefing.

**Press Conference and Stakeout Today

A couple of press conferences today, immediately following Security Council consultations, Ad Melkert, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, will speak to correspondents at the Security Council stakeout position.  And then at 12:30 p.m., here in this auditorium, there will be a press conference on the launch of several campaigns to combat violations of children’s rights.

**Secretary-General’s Remarks

This morning, the Secretary-General marked today the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the Optional Protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, with UNICEF’s new Executive Director, Anthony Lake.

The two Protocols — one on prostitution and child pornography, the other on children and armed conflict — have been endorsed by two thirds of all Member States so far.

Mr. Nesirky spelled out further, beyond the language of the official release, that in too many places children are still treated as commodities.

The Secretary-General urged all countries to adopt these instruments within the next two years in order to provide children with a moral and legal shield.  He said that in too many places children are seen as commodities, treated as criminals, instead of being protected as victims, and that in too many conflicts, children are used as soldiers, spies or human shields.  We have his full remarks in my office.

And this afternoon, the Secretary-General will address the pledging Conference for the Extraordinary Chambers in the Courts of Cambodia.  And that’s at 3 p.m., in the ECOSOC Chamber of the North Lawn Building.

**Security Council

The Security Council heard a briefing by Ad Melkert this morning — that’s the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Iraq.  Melkert told Council members that the recent elections and the Government expected to be formed based on the election results offer a new opportunity to strengthen Iraq’s sovereignty.  It will also allow Iraqis to move with greater determination towards reconciliation.  He added, however, that a host of challenges remain, including the continued violence across Iraq, which so far this year has claimed 2,000 lives and wounded 5,000 civilians.

The Council is now in consultations on Iraq, after which Melkert intends to speak to reporters at the Security Council stakeout position.  We have copies of his remarks to the Council in my office.

And following the consultations on Iraq, the Security Council will hold an open meeting on the situation in Chad, the Central African Republic and the subregion.

**Israel-Palestine

The Secretary-General sent a message today to the UN International Meeting in Support of the Israeli-Palestinian Peace Process, which is being held in Istanbul under the theme “Ending the Occupation and Establishing the Palestinian State”.

The Secretary-General’s message was delivered by Robert Serry, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.  In it, the Secretary-General expressed his satisfaction that, after a prolonged period of delay and setbacks, proximity talks are finally under way.  He also encourages the parties to avoid provocations or breaches of the Road Map or international law.  He welcomes the modest progress that has been achieved, with the Government of Israel facilitating a number of priority projects and widening the list of commercial goods allowed into Gaza.  We have copies of his message in my office.

And separately, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) says that Gaza’s agriculture sector is being hit hard.  OCHA says that more than 60 per cent of Gaza households are now food insecure, a situation that agriculture could have helped redress.  However, Israel’s import and access restrictions continue to suffocate the local agriculture sector and directly contribute to rising food insecurity.  There is more in a press release from OCHA in my office.

** Haiti

We have an announcement from the United Nations Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH.

President [René] Préval and the Secretary-General’s Special Representative in Haiti, Edmond Mulet, have agreed to establish an independent commission to investigate the incident in Les Cayes Prison on 19 January.  The Commission will be a joint United Nations-Haiti effort.  Further details on its composition and mandate will be soon provided by MINUSTAH.

**Press Conference Tomorrow

A couple of press conferences for tomorrow:  at 11 a.m., there will be a press conference to launch the updated 2010 United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects report.  And at 12:30 p.m., Wilfried Lemke, Special Adviser to the Secretary-General on Sports for Development and Peace, will hold a press conference about the upcoming 2010 FIFA Football World Cup in South Africa, to take place from 11 June until 11 July, and the activities of the UN system around this event.  And finally at 1 p.m., there will be a press conference by Ambassador David Balton, the Chair of the Review Conference on the Fish Stocks Agreement, who will brief on efforts to strengthen international action to manage and conserve fish stocks on the high seas.

**Secretary-General on Africa Day

So I can also tell you that today is Africa Day, and in a message to mark the Day, the Secretary-General says that this year’s celebration has particular significance as it marks the fiftieth anniversary of independence of several Francophone African States and Nigeria, the continent’s most populous nation.

The Secretary-General also notes in his message that by consistently reminding the international community of its responsibility to the most vulnerable, and affirming that we are all members of a global family of nations, Africa has helped to reshape the global agenda.

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So questions, please.  Yes.

{ and there were four correspondents that asked questions – just only four }

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**Questions and Answers

(A) Mr. Laolu Akande, Bureau Chief (North America) THE GUARDIAN of NIGERIA. His questions are usually about Africa and the African Union.

Question:  A couple of questions.  One, yesterday the Secretary-General announced that he was going to Nigeria. Do you have more details as to when he is going to go and, apart from the President, who else he is going to be meeting?

Then secondly, on the issue of child rights, I see that the Secretary-General has spoken about that already today.  There is a senator in Nigeria who just married an Egyptian 13-year-old girl.  I was wondering whether the Secretary-General will say something about that?

Spokesperson:  The second, I didn’t quite get that.

Correspondent:  There is senator in Nigeria…

Spokesperson:  Yes.

Correspondent:  …Senator [Ahmad Sani] Yerima, who just married a 13 year old Egyptian, and I was hoping that the Secretary-General will say something about that.

Spokesperson:  Well, on the first question, which is the precise schedule for the Secretary-General’s trip to Nigeria, we don’t yet have the precise layout and the full itinerary.  But we will let you know as soon as we do.  But it will be after the trip to South Africa.  As the Secretary-General mentioned, there is then a leg of that particular trip which takes him to South Africa, to West Africa, I beg your pardon, and Nigeria is part of that.  But exactly where, at what point in the schedule hasn’t been fixed yet.  So we will let you know as soon as we can.

On the second, I don’t think I need to say more than has already been stated about the rights of children.  I think the Secretary-General has been quite clear on that.

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(B) Mr. Masood Haider, who is registered with THE DAILY DAWN of Karachi, Pakistan, Leading English Newspaper of Pakistan, but when I looked it up already three years ago, I did not find there articles by Masood. On his personal google listings there is much material about him being the President of the UN Correspondents Association (UNCA), and articles on www.MaximsNews.com.  His questions always involve the Middle Eas and end up with an attack on Israel.

So, Masood.

Question:  …specifically about this particular senator, I know that he has made comments.  I want to know whether the United Nations considers itself as having a moral voice, you know, to speak, you know, when such violations of something that it thinks is important to talk about when there is direct violation even by the people who have the power.  Doesn’t the Secretary-General mean to raise the moral voice against such things?

Spokesperson:  The Secretary-General’s moral voice on this question is very clear.  But that doesn’t mean that we have to comment on the specific cases.  But I have stated what the general principle is and so has the Secretary-General.  And I think that that’s a fairly clear answer.  Yes, Masood.

MASOOD HAIDER:  Talking about the moral voice, the disclosure yesterday in the newspaper in London that Israel offered South Africa nuclear warheads in exchange for certain things, and how is that going to impact the nuclear negotiations going on over here at the United Nations on NPT, which Israel refuses to join nor was it disclosed how many weapons it has.  So the Secretary-General was asked this question yesterday, which he did not answer, I mean [inaudible].

Spokesperson:  Well, the Secretary-General did answer the question yesterday, and I have no need to elaborate on what he said.

Question:  But in his…  So what you are saying is it will not have any impact whatsoever on the NPT and the negotiations over there?  Or [inaudible crosstalk]

Spokesperson:  What will have, not have an impact?

Question:  …Middle East nuclear-free zone that he has been espousing?

Spokesperson:  It’s not just the Secretary-General that’s espousing this.  This is an agreement that goes back quite some way.  And it’s not simply the Secretary-General’s voice on this. That’s the first thing.  The second is that the Secretary-General spoke out very clearly yesterday about what’s required of the States parties who are taking part in this Review Conference; that there are people, everybody is watching; the world is watching, and that it’s clear that it’s not easy to reach an agreement.  And it’s clear that there are complications that you are alluding to.  But that doesn’t mean that the countries who are taking part in this Review Conference shouldn’t focus on making their best effort to reach a deal.  That’s what the SG, the Secretary-General, was talking about yesterday.  And I think that there is not much more that I can add to that.  Further questions?  Yes.

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(C) Ms. Catherine Mercier, CBC Radio-Canada, Producer – United Nations.

Question:  Yesterday the Secretary-General in his press conference mentioned that he wanted to make this building the greenest building possible.  I was wondering if there was a clear plan, for instance, regarding the cafeteria, because it seems to me that even now it could be made much greener than it is.  Not using disposable cups for instance; there are no real glasses, real cups and many people of course it means like hundreds and hundreds of beverages every day.  So is there a clear plan or will there be one?  Maybe it’s a question for Mr. [Michael] Adlerstein, but I just wanted to hear you on that.

Spokesperson:  I’m pretty sure you are right that that is a question for others, not specifically for me.  But that doesn’t mean that I can’t find out, try to find out an answer to it.  But what’s important here is that the idea of transforming this building into a green building is one that will take some time to realize.  We’re not there yet, as everybody knows.  In the meantime, measures can always be undertaken to try to improve the environment or impact that everybody here, whoever it is and whatever we’re doing.  So there is always room for improvement.  So I am sure that folks in the relevant section, the relevant department, can look at measures that could be taken.  Okay.

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Yes, Matthew.

MASOOD HAIDER  again

Question:  I just wanted to find out…

Spokesperson:  I said Matthew, and then I’ll come to you, Masood, again.  Sorry?

Matthew Russell Lee:  Okay, and then I, you can, then I’ll pass it back to you, Masood.  Unless you’re going environmental?

Spokesperson:  Yeah.  Are you going environmental?  Are you going green?

Masood Haider:  Go ahead, Matthew.

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(4) MATTHEW R. LEE, of INNER CITY PRESS – The only real investigative reporter at the UN for years. His questions mostly do not get official answers but his postings are most enlightening.

Question:  Okay.  It’s reported that in South Sudan the UN has pulled its staff out of Jonglei state due to unrest.  Is that the case, and what can, what does the UN, doesn’t UNMIS [United Nations Mission in the Sudan] have a protection of civilians mandate?  I mean, are they, what’s the relation between it being too dangerous for civilians staff, or are military personnel of UNMIS going to this location?

Spokesperson:  Well, I’ll try to get further guidance on this.  We’re aware of the reports and we’ll try to get further guidance.  This is always a difficult balancing act here — to get it right, to balance the need to be on the spot, to help the people you are there to help, but at the same time to balance that against your duty of care to the staff you have sent to do that job.  So it’s sometimes a dilemma to do that.  But that’s as a general principle.  I don’t know the full details of this particular case and we’ll try to find out more.

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Masood.  What’s you question, Masood?

Question:  Okay.  What I am saying is, IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] has now got this thing from Iran.  Now, how will that impact the negotiations over here if it keeps a point of report that Iran in fact is on its way to comply, as the Brazilians and the Turkish people, Turkish [inaudible].  How will that impact the negotiations over here?

Spokesperson:  Well, first of all, as the Secretary-General said yesterday, he spoke to the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mr. [Yukiya] Amano, and the communication that was received from the Iranians is being analysed and assessed by the International Atomic Energy Agency.  So we still don’t know what it said precisely, and we still don’t know precisely what it means.  And therefore it’s difficult to assess what impact it might have on Security Council consultations that are going on.  I’m sure that members of the Security Council, if you ask them, would have their views on it.  The Secretary-General has made clear two things:  one, that this is in general in the hands of the Security Council; and the second thing, that the proposal or the deal struck between Iran, Turkey and Brazil would represent a positive step if combined with the full compliance that the international community expects of Iran with existing Security Council resolutions.

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Matthew.

Question:  Sure, on Sudan, I wanted, actually, two questions, both about sort of related to yesterday’s press conference by the Secretary-General.  One was this question of both Mr. [Ibrahim] Gambari and Mr. [Haile] Menkerios going to the inauguration of Omer Al-Bashir, given his International Criminal Court indictment.  Was there some — and I have gone over the Secretary-General’s answer a number of times — had, did, particularly for Mr. Menkerios, who is solely a UN not AU employee, was this, did the Office of Legal Affairs, who essentially sort of authorized what seems to many to be a change of policy, even going back as far as, I mean, to have UN officials engage with an indicted, someone indicted for crimes of war is something new.  And who signed off on that?

Spokesperson:  It’s just not true that it’s new. It’s just not true.  The point is that both these gentlemen, Mr. Gambari and Mr. Menkerios, are appointed by the Secretary-General under a Security Council mandate to carry out a job in Sudan — in the case of Mr. Gambari jointly under the African Union, as you pointed out.  Their job is to interact with the Sudanese Government.  That’s their job, to ensure that the missions, the important missions, the large missions trying to do the work that you mentioned in the previous question; they interact.  That’s obvious.  And as the Secretary-General said yesterday, this is no more, no less than their participation in an event that carries political significance as well as being a ceremony.  It has political significance, but crucially, they have a mandate to be there and to interact with the Sudanese authorities.

Question:  [inaudible] keep contact at the high level such as the Secretary-General, I would assume Mr. Menkerios to a minimum necessary to carry out the operational functions, because, I mean, Human Rights Watch has said this is legitimizing, or really, minim… making a mockery of the fact that if somebody is indicted for war crimes and yet can meet openly and be celebrated by UN officials.  Is that, what’s the Secretary-General’s response to that?

Spokesperson:  Well, first of all, Human Rights Watch are entitled to their view, and they do extraordinary work. The second thing is they have a job to do, large missions to run.  They need to be able to interact with the Sudanese authorities and they have a mandate to do so.

Question:  To follow up on that, you say there is no change in policy, but were there any precedents before of such top-level UN officials coming close to someone who was indicted by the ICC?

Spokesperson:  Of course, when it’s been operationally necessary with President Bashir, that’s the case.  But when it’s been necessary for the operational reasons that we’ve talked about here before.  Yeah.

Question:  [inaudible]

Spokesperson:  I don’t think I need to repeat again — I already did once — I don’t think I need to repeat again what the Secretary-General said yesterday.  Okay.  Other questions?

Question:  I have a follow-up?

Spokesperson:  Yeah.

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Laolu Akande joins the question about Sudan -

Question:  I’m sure you know that it’s a rather tough issue, but we have to ask the question.  Do you think by allowing those two top UN officials to go and be part of that inauguration, simple question, do you think that undermines the work of the Tribunal?

Spokesperson:  Absolutely not.  No.  The fact is Mr. Bashir was elected by the Sudanese people as the President in the recent elections.  That’s a fact.  And there is an inauguration.  That’s also a fact.  It’s a political event as well as a ceremony.  It involves the swearing-in, the inauguration of the Head of State of that country where we have two sizeable missions, with people doing difficult work to help the people of Sudan. And that’s the reason why they are there, and that’s the reasons why the need to interact with the Sudanese authorities.

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Matthew Lee about Sri Lanka -

Question:  Last Monday, about eight days ago, when this International Crisis Group report came out about Sri Lanka, you’d said that the UN would study it and would have some response to the report, particularly to the part that said, that called for an investigation of the UN’s own actions pulling out of Kilinochi, ineffectively calling for a ceasefire and funding internment camps.  Is that response, is, when can we expect the responses, particularly the factual ones of just how much money was spent on the camps.  Is that ready?

Spokesperson:  Not yet.

Question:  [inaudible] I wanted to, maybe, this goes back to yesterday’s press conference by the Secretary-General.  I was, I’m still trying to understand, I sort of recited the, this, the critique of the ICG.  And he seemed to say, I totally reject it.  That…

Spokesperson:  No, I think, Matthew, that’s wrong.  What he was rejecting was the catalogue of allegations that you listed that were not in the ICG report.

Question:  There was only one that was additional.  So that’s the one that he… he was only rejecting that one?

Spokesperson:  Go through the list and maybe you will see what I mean.

Question:  But I want to, I am going to ask you about that allegation, because I want to know what he rejects about it.  Philip Alston has said that a number of LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] leaders who were, came out to surrender after having spoken with Vijay Nambiar, the Chief of Staff, were in fact — he believes, Alston believes — summarily executed by the Sri Lankan Government.  So the question is, and it’s a question that Alston himself has raised, at least in the corridors, what was Chief of Staff Vijay Nambiar’s role in encouraging them to come out?  No, I don’t know what the role was, but it seems like it’s a fair question to say should there be an investigation to find out whether the Chief of Staff either, you know, God forbid, knew they would be killed or had reason to not tell them to come out if in fact they were killed.  So, what’s he rejecting about that, I guess, that’s the factual question?  And what’s the answer?  What did Vijay Nambiar know when he told them to come out?

Spokesperson:  The Chef de Cabinet { Mr. Vijay Nambiar from India }has talked about this publicly and made clear that this was, that he had no direct contact with the people who were being asked to surrender.  He had no direct contact with them.  He spoke to the Sri Lankan leaders and was conveying a message that was relayed to him not by someone from the Tamil community.  I will be able to give you the exact ins and outs if you need it, but he has spoken publicly about it.

Correspondent:  [inaudible] I really try to cover it very closely.  I’m not, I’m not…

Spokesperson:  Yes, yes he has.  He did so quite recently in an interview with Al Jazeera.

Question:  Can we get, I guess…?

Spokesperson:  Well, you can ask Al Jazeera.

Question:  Maybe, get, I mean…?

Spokesperson:  Have a look at what he said on Al Jazeera.  That’s probably not a bad idea.

Correspondent:  Actually, Al Jazeera is no longer shown in the UN.  It used to be on UNTV, but that’s not…

Spokesperson:  Now look, let’s not go down this road.

Correspondent:  No, I understand, but…

Spokesperson:  Do you know at the moment I can’t see any TV channels at the moment, Matthew?  In my office I can’t see any TV channels because of the technical work that’s going on in the building.  There are difficulties.  So we don’t need to go down that route.

Question:  Can I get a transcript of what he said?  I am assuming that the UN kept a transcript?

Spokesperson:  Just watch Al Jazeera, okay?  You can ask them, I’m sure they can help you.

Spokesperson:  Other questions?  No?  Okay.  All right, we have our guests waiting for us.  Thank you very much.

* ***

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So what we just witnessed was that one investigative reporter (Matthew Lee) wanted to know about steps the UN has taken in Sudan and Sri Lanka.

In the case of Sudan the UN sent two high officials to participate at the reinauguration of President Bashir who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court of war crimes. It seems that if needed the UN has to deal with Bashir, on a de facto basis – but by going to his party – this is nothing less then an acceptance de jure of his stolen election and a slap at the judges of the ICC.

In the case of Sri Lanka, the question is if the Chef de Cabinet to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon was involved in delivering rebels to be executed by the government. If you do not ask these questions you will never know that it is difficult to get straigt answers – and only one journalist at the UN bothers looking for answers – seemingly most others are Press-Release mincers while doing that work in their UN cubicles.

A second active person clearly came there to look for loopholes to attack Israel. That is clearly his right but it reflects on the UN.

A third active Journalist was there because he gathers information on how to better Africa. This is Laudatory.

The Fourth Journalist, the lady from Canada, Catherine Mercier, was gratifying to us – she actually tried to find out if the UN is serious about its professed intent of appearing green – and the truth is indeed very far from the UN stated goals. In all these last, nearly 20 years since the Rio Conference of 1992, and the call for an Agenda 21,  the UN has done in its own buildings absolutely zero.

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Further, in 2006 the UN used to show these Noon Briefings to the Press on Manhattan Chanel 78 on New York TV. That used to be an inducement to get into the Briefing room many more journalists. Mid – 2007 this was discontinued and when I asked about it from journalists and DPI members no-body knew of any other venue. Now, in this tour, I learned from the lady that spoke on UN Media Resources that the UNTV is being seen in Manhattan on Chanel # 150 on Time Warner Cable and it includes the Noon Briefings.

With this knowledge I followed up by watching the programs on this Thursday May 27th, and Friday May 28th. I was curious to follow up and see who, and how many of the Journalists show up and are active at Question time.

So, for Thursday May 27, 2010:

- There was a journalist from the Republic of Korea who had many questions relating to the Korea situation. He was told that the Secretary-General said that he expects the Security Council to take action to which there was an expression of wonder about the idea of a UNSG telling the Security Council what to do.

- Masood Haider was asking on the situation in Gaza at the time that in Istanbul there is an attempt to restart the proximity talks between Israel and the Palestinians. The answer was that any action that can increase tension while the proximity talks wer started have to be watched very carefully.

- Masood was joined by a correspondent from Lebanon who wanted to know about Israeli actions in Lebanon.

- Matthew Lee implied that the UN must have safeguards to guard it from itself as per a complaint from a member of the Somali delegation who complained about UN spending funds in Mogadishu. Same goes for the EU.

Matthew Lee had specific questions regarding a Sierra Leone UN paid person who declared he will run for elections in Sierra Leone while on UN pay. Thw answer was tat such a thing is clearly not right. The question was specific but the answer was generic.

Matthew continued with questions about the Security Council discussing the renaming of the mission to Congo – what are the priorities? He was answered that on Friday he will have a chance to ask the question from the guest.

- Matthew continue with questions about payments to a UN official in Congo who is under scrutiny.

We had thus again just 4 people – Masood and Matthew and two new participants. One that was seemingly on the Masood team, and a new face interested in Korea.

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For Friday May 28, 2010:

Today there were only questions from Masood and Matthew.

The topic for Masood was the Rio meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations under the chairmanship of President Lula, and with the Participation of UNSG Ban Ki-moon. Also about the bombing in Lahore.

Matthew’s questions dealt with the UN in Congo.


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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on November 22nd, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

War in Congo has caused by now 5 million death and there is no end to it,   war in Sudan has cost by now 2.5 million lives. Further many millions of people were driven from their homes – both these very large countries, rich in natural resources, have been driven to abject poverty with a very thin crust on top – rich people that made their fortune from the misery of the many,

China has now invested $9 billion in Sudan in oil deals, and $5 billion in Congo in minerals – someone from the locals gets some of this money. Americans and Europeans spend money on aid campaigns and would really want to see an end to the Killings. They clearly feel this is a bottomless pit. Three prominent leaders in the NGO effort to do something about this upheaval in Africa are:

George Clooney – famous actor and director,   David Presman – human-rights lawyer, and John Prendergast – co-chair of “the Enough Project” wrote the following article as an opinion piece for the Wall Street Journal.

Not on Our Watch, and the Enough Project cry out to President-Elect Barack Obama in hope that, despite the other enormous tasks that he will have starting January 20, 2009, he should also take on the problems of Africa – specifically Congo and Sudan. We are with them but we do not see how he could spread out in his first days in office beyond the clear focus on the US economy as we reported today based on Obama’s media presentation of today – November 22, 2008.

By coincidence, today I also met Safiyya Sarkin, President and Founder, Women Beyond Survival. She told me about East Chad, which has become an extension of the war in Darfur, a war caused by Sudan. Chad is not alone, The Central African Republic is in similar condition as extension of wars in South Sudan and Congo. The whole region is in flames and why cannot Africa get its act together and show that they are ready to speak up for their people?

The point is that a government should be responsible for the protection of its own citizens, and if they do not act according to the UN principle “The Responsibility To Protect” their neighbors should be helped to move in and establish order. And if the neighbors do not want to do it – or cannot – the UN should be able to take over. But did you ever look at what goes on at the UN Security Council? If there is no oil to protect, seemingly nobody acts, and if it is just one large power that works on that oil – what then? Will President Obama be ready to stand up and be counted as a defender of the people of Darfur even without a US interest in the oil of Sudan? We hope he will, but we are not convinced that this will be right at start. Further, we actually think that incoming Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, who visited Darfur, and knows the atrocities, and being a woman, would be ready, after confirmation by the US Senate, to look at least on the women’s side of the East and Central African problems in line of www.womenbeyondsurvival.org

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 31st, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)

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ICC President, Judge Philippe Kirsch, addresses United Nations General Assembly

The Hague, 31 October 2008

ICC-CPI-20081031-PR367_ENG

The President of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Judge Philippe Kirsch presented the annual report of the ICC to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly on 30 October 2008.

President Kirsch provided an overview of recent developments at the Court and an assessment of where the Court stands ten years after the General Assembly convened the historic Rome Conference to create the ICC.   He noted that “the creation of the ICC reflected the resolve of States to give a permanent institutional dimension to a fundamental shift in international relations which had begun a few years earlier – from the culture of impunity to an approach based on respect for justice and the rule of law.”   President Kirsch observed that the Court today “is respected as an independent, purely judicial institution whose decisions will be enforced.”   Looking to the future, President Kirsch called on States, international organisations and civil society to continue to co-operate with the Court and to respect and to ensure respect for the Court’s independence and its purely judicial mandate.

The ICC is an independent, international judicial institution with jurisdiction over individuals accused of the most serious crimes of international concern: genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. It is independent from the UN. A relationship between the two institutions was established through an agreement concluded in 2004. In accordance with this agreement, the Court submits an annual report on its activities to the UN.

30.10.2008 – Address to the United Nations General Assembly, Judge Philippe Kirsch, President of the International Criminal Court
English | French

22.08.2008 – Fourth Report of the International Criminal Court to the United Nations for 2007/08
Arabic | Chinese | English | French | Russian | Spanish

For further information please contact Ms Sonia Robla, Head of Public Information and Documentation Section at +31 (0)70 515-8089 or +31 (0) 646448726 or at  sonia.robla at icc-cpi.int

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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on October 30th, 2008
by Pincas Jawetz (PJ@SustainabiliTank.com)


Johann Hari: How we fuel Africa’s bloodiest war



What is rarely mentioned is the great global heist of Congo’s resources

Thursday, 30 October 2008, The Independent.

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People throw stones at UN peacekeepers patrolling on a road in Kibati, about 16 miles north of Goma

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The deadliest war since Adolf Hitler marched across Europe is starting again – and you are almost certainly carrying a blood-soaked chunk of the slaughter in your pocket. When we glance at the holocaust in Congo, with 5.4 million dead, the clichés of Africa reporting tumble out: this is a “tribal conflict” in “the Heart of Darkness”. It isn’t. The United Nations investigation found it was a war led by “armies of business” to seize the metals that make our 21st-century society zing and bling. The war in Congo is a war about you.

Every day I think about the people I met in the war zones of eastern Congo when I reported from there. The wards were filled with women who had been gang-raped by the militias and shot in the vagina. The battalions of child soldiers – drugged, dazed 13-year-olds who had been made to kill members of their own families so they couldn’t try to escape and go home. But oddly, as I watch the war starting again on CNN, I find myself thinking about a woman I met who had, by Congolese standards, not suffered in extremis.

I was driving back to Goma from a diamond mine one day when my car got a puncture. As I waited for it to be fixed, I stood by the roadside and watched the great trails of women who stagger along every road in eastern Congo, carrying all their belongings on their backs in mighty crippling heaps. I stopped a 27 -year-old woman called Marie-Jean Bisimwa, who had four little children toddling along beside her. She told me she was lucky. Yes, her village had been burned out. Yes, she had lost her husband somewhere in the chaos. Yes, her sister had been raped and gone insane. But she and her kids were alive.

I gave her a lift, and it was only after a few hours of chat along on cratered roads that I noticed there was something strange about Marie-Jean’s children. They were slumped forward, their gazes fixed in front of them. They didn’t look around, or speak, or smile. “I haven’t ever been able to feed them,” she said. “Because of the war.”

Their brains hadn’t developed; they never would now. “Will they get better?” she asked. I left her in a village on the outskirts of Goma, and her kids stumbled after her, expressionless.

There are two stories about how this war began – the official story, and the true story. The official story is that after the Rwandan genocide, the Hutu mass murderers fled across the border into Congo. The Rwandan government chased after them. But it’s a lie. How do we know? The Rwandan government didn’t go to where the Hutu genocidaires were, at least not at first. They went to where Congo’s natural resources were – and began to pillage them. They even told their troops to work with any Hutus they came across. Congo is the richest country in the world for gold, diamonds, coltan, cassiterite, and more. Everybody wanted a slice – so six other countries invaded.

These resources were not being stolen to for use in Africa. They were seized so they could be sold on to us. The more we bought, the more the invaders stole – and slaughtered. The rise of mobile phones caused a surge in deaths, because the coltan they contain is found primarily in Congo. The UN named the international corporations it believed were involved: Anglo-America, Standard Chartered Bank, De Beers and more than 100 others. (They all deny the charges.) But instead of stopping these corporations, our governments demanded that the UN stop criticising them.

There were times when the fighting flagged. In 2003, a peace deal was finally brokered by the UN and the international armies withdrew. Many continued to work via proxy militias – but the carnage waned somewhat. Until now. As with the first war, there is a cover-story, and the truth. A Congolese militia leader called Laurent Nkunda – backed by Rwanda – claims he needs to protect the local Tutsi population from the same Hutu genocidaires who have been hiding out in the jungles of eastern Congo since 1994. That’s why he is seizing Congolese military bases and is poised to march on Goma.

It is a lie. François Grignon, Africa Director of the International Crisis Group, tells me the truth: “Nkunda is being funded by Rwandan businessmen so they can retain control of the mines in North Kivu. This is the absolute core of the conflict. What we are seeing now is beneficiaries of the illegal war economy fighting to maintain their right to exploit.”

At the moment, Rwandan business interests make a fortune from the mines they illegally seized during the war. The global coltan price has collapsed, so now they focus hungrily on cassiterite, which is used to make tin cans and other consumer disposables. As the war began to wane, they faced losing their control to the elected Congolese government – so they have given it another bloody kick-start.

Yet the debate about Congo in the West – when it exists at all – focuses on our inability to provide a decent bandage, without mentioning that we are causing the wound. It’s true the 17,000 UN forces in the country are abysmally failing to protect the civilian population, and urgently need to be super-charged. But it is even more important to stop fuelling the war in the first place by buying blood-soaked natural resources. Nkunda only has enough guns and grenades to take on the Congolese army and the UN because we buy his loot. We need to prosecute the corporations buying them for abetting crimes against humanity, and introduce a global coltan-tax to pay for a substantial peacekeeping force. To get there, we need to build an international system that values the lives of black people more than it values profit.

Somewhere out there – lost in the great global heist of Congo’s resources – are Marie-Jean and her children, limping along the road once more, carrying everything they own on their backs. They will probably never use a coltan-filled mobile phone, a cassiterite-smelted can of beans, or a gold necklace – but they may yet die for one.

To read more of Johann’s reporting on Congo, click here

 j.hari at independent.co.uk

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